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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Staff urged to report to South West Acute Hospital as health service struggles with Covid-19

  • 17 further deaths, 1,112 new cases in NI
  • Ambulances pictured queued outside Daisy Hill Hospital
  • Scroll down to see how Sunday unfolded


South West Acute hospital in Enniskillen

South West Acute hospital in Enniskillen

South West Acute hospital in Enniskillen

The Western Trust has appealed for all available staff to report to the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) as Northern Ireland's health service struggles to cope with Covid-19.

In a message on social media the trust urged all staff in the vicinity to report to the Enniskillen hospital for work.

It is understood the staff are being called in to help the Southern Trust deal with extreme pressures.

"Attention all off-duty staff in the vicinity of SWAH. Due to increasing pressures this evening on the NI Healthcare System we are appealing to you to contact or go directly to the hospital. Thank You," the message read.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

On Sunday night the Southern Trust said that Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals were "extremely busy".

"Our staff have responded superbly and we have been able to open additional beds to support the high numbers of Covid-19 positive patients needing hospital care," a spokesperson said on social media.

"Thank you to everyone who has reached out to offer help and support. The situation is currently very difficult but stable and we expect this high level of demand to continue over the next few weeks."

It comes after a number of ambulances were pictured queued up outside Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry on Saturday night.


The scene at Daisy Hill Hospital on Saturday night.

The scene at Daisy Hill Hospital on Saturday night.

The scene at Daisy Hill Hospital on Saturday night.

According to the Department of Health there are currently 703 Covid-19 inpatients in Northern Ireland's hospitals, with 53 in an intensive care unit.

Hospital bed occupancy currently stands at 94%, while 15 intensive care unit beds remain free.

On Sunday evening the chief executives of Northern Ireland's six health and social care trusts spelled out the stark situation they are dealing with in a joint statement.

They described the current situation in hospitals as "very serious" with modelling indicating that in the third week of January the health system will be dealing with double the number of Covid positive patients they are currently treating.

“This is not a simple matter of putting up more beds. We need the staff to care for the increased number of patients. Pre-existing staffing pressures and staff absence because of Covid, and other reasons, mean that those staff simply aren’t there," the statement said.

They pledged to do everything they can "to deal with the situation that is unfolding".

"Our staff, although exhausted, will once more go above and beyond to do the best they can for as many people as possible, and we thank them for it. It will definitely not be easy and the care that we are able to provide will at times fall short of the high standards we normally deliver but we will do our very best. Desperately ill patients whether Covid or non-Covid will always be the ones being prioritised," the statement said.

The chief executive's said that nobody should attend an emergency department (ED) at any time unless they require emergency care and warned that those who do attend face long waits.

"Patients arriving by ambulance will also wait at times, sometimes for many hours before space is available in an already over-stretched ED. This has a direct impact on the ability of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service to respond, in a timely manner, to life threatening emergencies in the community," the statement said.

A further 17 people in Northern Ireland died after contracting Covid-19, the Department of Health confirmed on Sunday.

Of the deaths, 15 occurred in the past 24 hours, while two went previously unreported. It brings the death toll in the region from the virus to 1,460.

Another 1,112 cases of Covid-19 have also been confirmed after 7,377 tests were carried on 3,480 people on Saturday.

It brings the total number of cases to 88,700 in Northern Ireland since the pandemic began.

Here's how Sunday unfolded:

Belfast Telegraph

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