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Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland

SDLP Health Spokesperson, Colin McGrath MLA has said that the Down and Mourne area feel betrayed by the decision of the South East Trust to not reopen the Emergency Department at the Downe, as previously announced.

The South Down MLA commented:

“It now seems to be the case that if you live in rural areas in the North your life is not as valuable as your urban friend.”

“The Department of Health and Trusts continue to prioritise big hospitals in urban centres where population numbers are dropping, favouring them over rural communities where population figures are increasing.”

“The Downe Hospital and Daisy Hill which both serve the community that I represent were two of only four hospitals across the UK to lose services during COVID-19. In the North places like Lagan Valley and Whiteabbey have been favoured with upgrades to their provision.”

“The people of Down and Mourne will reflect that the downgrade of their 24 hour service Emergency Department a few years ago was temporary, the loss of coronary care a number of years ago was temporary. Now this move is being billed as temporary – a term that doesn’t sit easy with local people, given many years of broken promises.”

“We will need certainty from the Minister for Health and I will be seeking that clarity as a matter of urgency. He must come out and pledge that this decision, billed as temporary, will indeed be that and the rightful services which have been axed at the Downe will return sooner rather than later.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom