Belfast Telegraph

A casualty unit dogged by difficulties

By Claire Williamson

The Royal Victoria Hospital emergency department has a long catalogue of problems.

  • In January the Belfast Trust called a Major Incident at the Royal Victoria A&E department. Additional staff had to be drafted in while extra beds were also opened in order to ease pressure. Around 40 people were left waiting on trolleys at one stage, with staff describing conditions in the unit as "like Beirut".
  • In February it emerged a delay in treatment at the RVH emergency department may have contributed to the death of five patients in 2013. Health Minister Edwin Poots ordered a review of services at the RVH by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.
  • At the end of March, it emerged that two patients waited on a trolley in the Royal's emergency department for over 29 hours.
  • Earlier this month extra nurses were drafted into the emergency departments of two hospitals in Belfast, including the RVH, due to massive pressure on resources. At one point up to 100 people were waiting to be seen by a doctor in the Royal A&E, while 19 patients were waiting on trolleys and one man had to wait up to 11 hours to be examined.

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