Belfast Telegraph

Surge in patient numbers at A&E wards across Northern Ireland

By Allan Preston

Emergency departments in hospitals across Northern Ireland were under huge pressure last night as an influx of extra patients led to long waiting times.

The Belfast Health Trust posted a warning on Twitter last night as services felt the strain.

A spokesperson said: “We have large numbers attending the Royal Victoria Hospital and Mater emergency departments and patients may have to wait. Those who are seriously ill will be seen first.”

The normal triage waiting time to initially assess a patient’s condition is supposed to be around 15 minutes. At 9.20pm last night patients at the Mater were waiting an average of four times that — 61 minutes — with the Royal Victoria at 35 minutes.

But Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry had the longest wait of 160 minutes. The Western Trust said it was “experiencing high pressure in the A&E. But this is similar to what we would usually experience during the busy holiday period”.

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