Downpatrick councillor Cadogan Enright condemned Trust management as “incompetent and unfit to run any organisation, let alone the hospitals within the trust area.”

Cadogan Enright said “The business case for the €64 Million hospital was consulted on. The new hospitals role in the overall trust agreed, the funds were drawn down and the state-of –the-Art facility was built last year. Management are now saying they forgot to ensure that Consultants in the Ulster and in Belfast were required to provide services at the new hospital, that Trust cardiactic technicians don’t have it in their contracts that they may have to run clinics at the Downe and that they can find no staff to hire in the midst of the worst recession and greatest level of unemployment world-wide for a generation. Thus they are cutting back on a whole raft of services.”

Cllr Enright said “Management is supposed to manage, we have known the plan for the new hospital for years, why is it news to them that they needed to plan ahead for staffing the hospital?”.

“More worryingly, Trust management are now building an new acute mental health unit at Lagan Valley Hospital in Antrim, and suggesting that the new 25-bed unit here in Downpatrick be closed within 2 years starting immediately with 5 beds and services transfer up to Lagan Valley. Downpatrick has always been a centre of “best practice” for mental health and the skills exist to run it exist in this area and in our new unit at the Downe. This is an appalling waste of taxpayers money and smacks of “ABCD” – “Anywhere But County Down”. Said Cllr Enright.

Cllr Cadogan Enright warned that “Over the weekend it has emerged that the failure to recruit for the consultant-led accident and emergency unit is leading to the Trust wanting to downgrade the A&E unit at the Downe and shut it at night-time after 10pm. The Trust is threatening us by saying that if they don’t act now, it could result in the sudden closure of the unit resulting from having the wrong staff in place as happened in Whiteabbey. The obvious answer is to get the right staff in place. “

“I have worked as a manager in businesses large and small for over 30 years, and I have never encountered less management ability in the implementation of a plan of any kind than I have with the Trust managements inability to deliver the vision and services proposed for the new hospital. Given that the Trust is repeatedly suggesting that either the Lagan or the Ulster Hospitals will provide the various services planned for the Downe, I feel we have to start considering if there a section 75 or equality issues to be addressed in the overall management of this project”, concluded Councillor Cadogan Enright.

By Cadogan