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Future of Emergency General Surgery

27th January 2023

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust is proposing that all Emergency General Surgery Services for the area are delivered from the Craigavon Area Hospital site on a permanent basis.

The proposal was approved at Trust Board (Thursday 26th January) and is now available for public consultation.

From February 2022, as a contingency measure, in response to difficulties in recruiting and retaining consultant general surgeons, the Trust consolidated emergency general surgery to Craigavon Hospital to maintain the safety of the service for all patients.

Recruitment of general surgical consultants has been an ongoing challenge across Northern Ireland and work has been ongoing to develop more sustainable emergency and elective surgical services for the whole population.

Speaking at Trust Board, Chief Executive, Dr Maria O’Kane said: “Following the publication of the Review of General Surgery in June, our surgical team has been exploring how we can meet the new regional standards to ensure the best clinical outcomes for all patients who need emergency general surgery in the Southern Trust.

“Delivering all Emergency General Surgery from the Craigavon site, 24 hours a day, seven days a week is the only way we can safely meet best practice standards, with the staff and resources we have available, offering back up from sub specialist surgical services, intensive care and MRI, if needed, to give our patients the safe, high quality and modern care that they deserve.

“I can reassure those who may be concerned, that there will be absolutely no change to the busy Emergency Department at Daisy Hill which is crucial to meeting the needs of our local population and will continue to operate as a Type 1 ED, assessing patients with both medical and surgical symptoms.

“Daisy Hill has a wide range of vibrant medical specialties and is a renowned teaching hospital. We are keen to maintain its status in our acute hospital network, whilst developing its elective surgical capacity and are currently progressing plans to develop the hospital as a regional Elective Overnight Stay Centre, to ensure that more people on lengthy waiting lists get the surgery they need.

“The recent investment from the Department of Health of over £9million to upgrade the electrical infrastructure at Daisy Hill is another very welcome commitment to the future of our hospital, offering great potential for further development of services.

“We welcome public support in implementing this much needed service improvement in our area. We want to stabilise and develop our surgical service to attract and retain staff and most importantly ensure that patients wherever they live in the Southern Trust have access to the right care, in the right place with the best possible resources.”

The Public Consultation is open to 21st April 2023.  For access to all consultation documents

The Trust will be hosting online information events on:  Friday 24 February from 11am to 1pm; Friday 3 March from 2pm to 4pm; and Thursday 9 March from 6pm to 8pm.

To register your interest in attending or request copies of documents in other formats