UNISON Northern Ireland


UNISON, the largest union in the health and social care system, has met with the South Eastern Trust regarding the return of services to the Downe Hospital. Commenting on the meeting, UNISON Regional Organiser Nuala Conlon said:

"The Trust has assured us that it intends to restore all services in the Downe Hospital to pre Covid-19 levels as soon as they can safely do so. UNISON sought such assurances at the beginning of the lockdown period when the Trust was suspending services at the Downe Hospital. We will be seeking clarity from the Trust on how quickly the Emergency Department will be reopened and how issues like social distancing will be managed to protect the public and our members working there.

UNISON has been campaigning for several years to protect the Emergency Department and other services at the Downe hospital. They are much in demand for the local population of Downpatrick and beyond. The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the importance the public place on our NHS and their staff. Although the weekly Clap for Carers has ended, the general public are continuing to show their support for our frontline health workers, both in the NHS and the private care sector."

UNISON Joint Branch Secretary, Marion Ritchie, said: "Our members have received well deserved praise from the public as to the way they have worked and continue to work in the Downe and elsewhere in the Trust when they have been temporarily relocated. UNISON are continuing to meet with Trust Management to plan the way forward for the return of services to the Downe - our local and vital hospital."