Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Lack of beds sees tot fly to Glasgow

Disgusted MLA demands answers

An Ulster baby was today receiving treatment in a Glasgow hospital due to a lack of specialist beds in the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The baby was transferred by air ambulance from Craigavon Area Hospital to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow last night when it emerged there were no suitable beds available in Northern Ireland, prompting a call for the Health Minister to urgently address the matter.

While a spokeswoman for Craigavon Area Hospital said she could not release any details about the baby, she confirmed that it was airlifted to Yorkhill Hospital last night.

"It was a child who needs paediatric intensive care, but hopefully the child will not remain there very long," she said.

The spokeswoman said that while it is not common for children and babies from Northern Ireland to be transferred to a Scottish hospital, this has happened in the past.

"It used to be that certain care was only available in Glasgow and Liverpool so we have sent babies there in the past," she explained.

The Royal Hospital for Sick Children - otherwise known as Yorkhill - has 266 inpatient beds, 12 daycase beds, and handles approximately 90,000 out-patients, 15,000 in-patients, 7,300 daycases and 35,000 A&E attendances every year.

The hospital provides care for newborn babies right up to children around 13 years of age.

A spokeswoman at the hospital this morning said she could not release any details about the condition of the baby.

No-one from the Royal was available to comment.

Alliance health spokesman Kieran McCarthy said he was disgusted that there were no beds available to provide care for the baby.

"This has happened before and certainly you would have thought that lessons would have been learnt by now," he said.

"Michael McGimpsey must take steps to tackle this issue as soon as possible or are we going to wait until there has been a fatality? The parents of seriously ill children have got to be considered where they are stressed enough when there is something wrong with their baby and then to be told that the child is to be taken out of the country.

"In this day and age we should have the provision and treatment available in Northern Ireland, and now we have a devolved Government this is something that needs to be addressed urgently."

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