Public urged to turn out for Daisy Hill rally
A PUBLIC rally will be held in Newry tomorrow as part of a campaign to retain round-the-clock A&E care at the city's Daisy Hill hospital.
Organised by Newry and Mourne District council, the event comes a fortnight after the facility was given an eleventh-hour lifeline to remain open on a 24-hour basis.
Staff shortages had led Southern trust health chiefs to announce proposals to reduce the casualty unit's opening hours and refer A&E patients to Craigavon Area hospital as a "contingency" measure.
Support for the "Hand off Daisy Hill" campaign culminated in a meeting attended by more than 1,500 people, including medical staff from the hospital, last month.
Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick said the rally, which will begin at 11am and take place at Middlebank, will focus on emergency care but is also about retaining all life-saving acute services at the hospital.
"This will build on the excellent work of the community campaign which has ensured that the Southern trust has acknowledged the clinical need for this service," she said.
Trade union chief Martin McKeown of Unite also urged the public to attend the rally.
"Continued public pressure the only way to guarantee delivery on promises to retain services in Daisy Hill," he said.
"Despite the recent success, we cannot take anything for granted. Words of assurance can easily be undermined by decisions behind the scenes. The Southern Trust must now underpin its promises with adequate resources... We also need clarity on the future of the hospital’s fracture clinic."