Chief Executive receives petition at South Tyrone Hospital
06/08/2014Southern Health and Social Care Trust Chief Executive, Mairead McAlinden, has accepted a petition about the Trust’s proposed changes in how hospital care for older people will be provided in future. Mairead, along with Director of Older People and Primary Care, Angela McVeigh received the petition from Bronagh McGahan, MLA, Cllr Deidre Varsani and MP Michelle Gildernew at South Tyrone Hospital and afterwards met with members of South Tyrone Community Forum and local elected representatives to discuss the proposed changes.
Mairead said: “Our plans reflect how the delivery of health care has and continues to change. The vast majority of care is delivered by GPs and community staff where people live. Increasingly hospital stays are for a short period of acute illness or injury with follow up care provided outside hospital.
”We have made major investments in developing community-based services to support people at home. Many conditions that were previously treated in hospital, can be successfully managed without the need for in-patient hospital care.
“But when older people do need to be in hospital, they are more likely to have a number of conditions which need to be treated. During a hospital stay, patients should have rapid access to all necessary diagnostics and specialist clinical expertise and skills, for quick and expert decisions on the treatment needed.
“While we can provide that rapid access to diagnostics and expertise in our two acute hospitals in Craigavon and Newry, it is impossible to duplicate this level of care in our smaller inpatient units in Dungannon, Lurgan and Armagh.
“The staff in these units provide excellent care ,but the needs of patients using these units are now much more complex . Increasingly patients require transfer to larger units for timely access to treatment and care if their condition causes concern.
“Our proposals set out a plan that will ensure the right model of care, in the right place and delivered by the right people.
“Local elected representatives and the Community Forum members have voiced to me their strong concerns about these proposals. They are concerned about issues such as local access, removal of services from South Tyrone and the inconvenience of extra travel for family members.
“I fully understand these concerns and I will take them to my Trust Board in November when the consultation ends. I would be happy to hear any other views from the local community on our proposals. We aim to deliver care in a way that provides the best possible quality of care to the people living in the Southern Trust and beyond, and make the best use of public funds. These proposals set out our plans for the future of hospital services for older people and the reasons why we think they are the right thing to do..”
Consultation continues until the end of October, with final proposals due to go to Trust Board in November.