Northern Ireland

Daisy Hill A&E in Newry to remain 24-hour service

Daisy Hill Hospital
Image caption Daisy Hill in Newry is part of the Southern Health Trust's acute hospital network, along with Craigavon

Daisy Hill Hospital's emergency department will remain a 24-hr service, the Southern Health Trust has said.

The announcement followed a meeting of health professionals, the Public Health Agency and the ambulance service.

The Department of Health said everyone agreed that it should be retained because of the "clinical need" and "projected population growth".

Health officials had warned that overnight closures may be unavoidable due to staff shortages.

Following the meeting, Southern Health Trust said it remained committed to delivering safe, sustainable 24/7 emergency services at the Newry hospital for the foreseeable future.

The announcement addresses the immediate staffing pressures at the hospital but by no means suggests that a long-term solution has been found.

The BBC understands that consultants will be drafted in from the Belfast Health Trust to help fill the emergency department rota.

The Department of Health's statement reminded the public that Northern Ireland's health service requires transformation and that work will continue at a regional level.

Those who have been campaigning to save the service can breathe a sigh of relief for the time being.

Campaigner Francis Gallagher said it was a "positive" step and that he would be asking the trust for more "concrete" details.

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