OVER £9 million is to be invested in a major upgrade of Daisy Hill Hospital’s electrical infrastructure, it was announced last week.
The funding – which totals £9,152,000 – is being provided by the Department of Health. Peter May, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health, said: “I am very pleased that the Department has been able to approve this expenditure, which will enable the Trust to provide a safe resilient supply of electricity at Daisy Hill Hospital.” The news has been welcomed by Dr Maria O’Kane, chief executive of the Southern Trust. She said it is a “much welcome boost” and “another commitment to the future” of the local hospital. Dr O’Kane added that Daisy Hill is an “essential part” of the Southern Trust’s acute hospital network. “We are very proud of the high-quality services provided by our very dedicated staff at Daisy Hill,” she stated. “It has a wide range of thriving medical specialties, a very busy emergency department and is a vibrant teaching hospital. “We are delighted that Daisy Hill has been selected to be a regional Elective Overnight Stay Centre for planned surgery and are currently engaging with health and social care colleagues to develop these plans. “The approval of the project to improve low voltage electrical capability is a much welcome boost for the ageing hospital infrastructure and another commitment to the future of our hospital. “This will provide a foundation to allow us to further expand services, with the development of a twin diagnostic scanning suite in the long term. “I would like to thank our Community Forum, who have worked with Trust colleagues as part of the Daisy Hill Pathfinder Group and the Daisy Hill Future Group for their continued support in improving services and securing this latest investment in the interests of local people. “Our estates team will be taking a phased approach to installing the low voltage electricity over the next few years and will as always do their very best to minimise disruption while we make these improvements throughout the hospital.”
The Daisy Hill Pathfinder Group and the Daisy Hill Future Group have also welcomed the funding for modernising the hospital’s electrical infrastructure. They added that it is part of an anticipated £20 million capital plan “that will also include a modern MRI/CT imaging suite that is essential to the delivery of medical and surgical care in the 21st century”. The statement from the groups added that the upgrade of the electrical infrastructure, together with the announcement that Daisy Hill is to become an Elective Surgical Overnight Stay Centre for planned surgery signals the Department of Health’s “commitment to the continued development of Daisy Hill as a major healthcare hub”. “Better facilities will incentivise clinicians to come and work at the hospital, improve retention within medical and nursing staff and reduce the need for transfers to other sites for diagnostic scans. “Both the Pathfinder Group and the Future Group are delighted that the collective efforts of the community, politicians, and health care managers continues to deliver progress in achieving real and significant advances in the provision of health care at Daisy Hill.”
South Down MP Chris Hazzard has also welcomed last week’s announcement. “This investment, coupled with Daisy Hill recently being made into an elective surgery centre, demonstrates the important role of our hospital in delivering local healthcare,” he said. “We need an Executive up and running now, and a health minister in place, to invest and continue transforming local services across South Down. “I would urge the DUP to end its blockade of the Executive and work together with the rest of us to fix the problems facing our health service,” added the Sinn Féin MP. South Down DUP Assembly member Diane Forsythe emphasised the vital role that Daisy Hill plays in serving the healthcare needs of people living in South Down. “This investment is a much welcome boost for the ageing hospital infrastructure and another commitment to the future of this key local hospital, allowing the Southern Trust to further expand services in the long term,” said Ms Forsythe. “Daisy Hill is a critically important hospital for South Down residents in the provision of local health services. “This is great news and I support further plans for the hospital.”