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Trust welcomes Departmental approval on emergency general surgery

8th January 2024

 The Southern Health and Social Care Trust has welcomed the Department of Health’s approval on its decision to deliver all emergency general surgery services for the area from the Craigavon Area Hospital site.

Medical Director Dr Stephen Austin said: “Meeting the clinical standards to ensure the best outcomes for all patients living across the entire southern area, has been our absolute priority throughout this process.

“I commend our surgical team who are constantly working to improve their service and have developed this new model for emergency general surgery to give patients the safe, high quality and modern care that they deserve. Delivering emergency general surgery from one site helps us to meet the latest regional standards set out in the Review of General Surgery. It is also more sustainable and with successful recruitment of new surgical consultants in recent months, shows that it will be more attractive in recruiting and retaining staff.

“We acknowledge concerns raised, particularly from some living in the Newry, Mourne, South Down and South Armagh areas about access to the service and understand that people would value a service closer to home, but we must always prioritise quality of care and patient safety.”

Cathrine Reid, Director of Surgery and Clinical Services continued:

“Patients should continue to phone first or attend their nearest Emergency Department with any seriously urgent symptoms. Daisy Hill continues as a Type 1 consultant led ED, assessing all medical and surgical patients, 24/7.

“We have pathways for those who need transferred to Craigavon, to be directly admitted to the surgical ward, so it is important that Newry and Mourne patients always attend Daisy Hill first to benefit from this process. It is rare for someone to need very immediate surgery for a life-threatening condition, but we can assure local people that we have arrangements in place for the patient to be operated on at Daisy Hill should this happen.”

“With emergency surgery concentrated at Craigavon, we now have additional theatre time at Daisy Hill to benefit more people waiting on planned procedures. We have excellent surgical facilities at Daisy Hill and our surgical team has been working hard to gradually increase theatre activity over recent months and develop our plans as a regional elective overnight stay centre.”

DoH approves permanent service change | Department of Health (