Letter To The Editor.
“The recent debacle regarding a patient being left on a trolley for more than 24 hours due to no beds being available in the Downe Hospital raises serious questions.
“The fact that nine patients were also forced to wait overnight on trolleys in A and E due to bed shortages is clearly and unequivocally a direct consequence of the closure of a 15 bed ward at the Downe.
“This is only the start of problems that the Downe Hospital could expect to be faced with in response to the SET’s downgrading of front line health care services in Downpatrick and centralisation plans.
“The pathetic response issued by the SET in which it very much regretted that patients had to wait in the Downe Hospital’s A and E and admitting that the situation was ‘far from ideal’ is nothing more than a complete denial of the situation at hand.
“The closing of a hospital ward was surely going to have dire ramifications and consequences when the Downe Hospital was put under pressure from an increase in patients being admitted. The senior management and officials of the SET can shout from the rooftops that the Downe Hospital has a bright future, but the reality is that there is a Hospital in Downpatrick that will imminently go onto a life support machine.
“The closing of a hospital ward and the downgrading of A and E; two very basic elements of the Downe Hospital will result in further problems providing adequate and proper healthcare to patients. SET Chief Executive Hugh McCaughey can accuse the press of portraying the Downe Hospital in a negative light, but both he and the SET have been the main drivers in steering away front line health care services from Downpatrick onto the hard shoulder.
“Unless the SET reverse their plans for Downpatrick and stop living in denial about stripping and downgrading services, then the people of Down and Mourne will be left with a Hospital that will eventually become what a recent cartoon depicted; a white elephant.”
Dundrum, Co. Down.