The hospital will have its stroke service withdrawn from May 31 due to the one remaining specialist leaving, while the delivery of inpatient care in general medicine will be reduced. The Southern Trust said it was working with the Department of Health and other Trusts on the situation.
“Yet again we see an unplanned removal of services from a particular location because of a lack of workforce planning, but also because we have failed to move much more swiftly with the planned reconfiguration and reshaping of stroke services,” said Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA.
“We have been clear for many years now the choice for health and social care is reform or collapse. This once again clearly demonstrates when others say they will take their time to restore a functioning government, there is no time.
“The people of the Newry area are the latest to pay a collective penalty for the failure to reform the institutions and enable those who want to get on with governing in the interests of all the people to do so.”
“This news will come as a shock to people in the Newry area who have been pushing for enhanced services in the area for some time, only to find services are being withdrawn without clear explanation as to how they will be replaced,” added South Down MLA Patrick Brown.
“Alliance will be seeking urgent assurances around exactly what this means for people across South Down and South Armagh, because there is a real sense of helplessness in the community vital services may simply become unavailable. If this means increased dialogue with healthcare providers in the Republic of Ireland, then we would strongly encourage these discussions to be expedited.
“While not wishing to remove responsibility from those really causing the issue here, namely those politicians who refuse to get on with governing, we must also emphasise the Trust must provide urgent and full explanations as to how the people of the area will be able to access vital services.”