DAISY HILL HOSPITAL: LEGAL ACTION THREATENED TO PREVENT CLOSURE OF CRUCIAL A AND E DEPARTMENT
KRW LAW LLP has been instructed in the matter of the threatened closure of the crucial A and E Department at the Daisy Hill Hospital which services residents of Newry and Mourne.
On 30th March this year, the Southern Health and Social Care Trust issued a statement in which it warned of the on-going staffing difficulties for the A and E at Daisy Hill which could potentially lead to its closure.
The Trust confirmed that at a meeting on 13th April 2017 that contingency arrangements would be outlined in due course, and that a request was to be made to the Board to approve preparations for Craigavon Area Hospital in the event that Daisy Hill would be temporarily closed. The statement reaffirmed the fact that there would be ‘no permanent changes to any services without a full and comprehensive public consultation and engagement with the local communities’.
Last year, the Daisy Hill A and E Department treated more than 53,000 patients. It is accepted by the Trust that there remains a need for the acute services to be retained to accommodate the current demand, and to cater for the projected growth in the population of Newry and Mourne.
KRW LAW LLP has written to the Trust to confirm that in line with their previous public statements and their statutory obligations pursuant to Section 20 of the Health and Social Care (Reform) Act (Northern Ireland) 2009, a consultation will be commissioned in the event that a proposal (for change) is advanced for the temporary or permanent closure of the Daisy Hill A and E Department.
We have also sought confirmation that an Equality Impact Assessment has been conducted by the Trust as per their statutory obligations pursuant to Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 in relation to the current approach by the Trust to the provision of services to the Craigavon Area Hospital and that of Daisy Hill and that the Trust confirm that they have assessed the impact that closure (temporary or permanent) would have on the Craigavon area hospital.
There remains a necessity for acute services in Daisy Hill and there is a further concern that any closure to the Daisy Hill A and E Department would have a detrimental effect on the services provided by Craigavon insofar as it would be unable to manage the huge influx of additional patients to which it would be subject. A failure to comply with the requests made by KRW LAW LLP may give cause for legal action through judicial review of the Trust’s failure in this important matter.