Southern Trust apologises for delays at Craigavon Area Hospital
A Health Trust has apologised for delays at Craigavon Area Hospital's emergency department after the son of an elderly patient complained of "absolute chaos" on New Year's Eve.
Posting about his experience on social media, a Dungannon man said his seriously ill 92-year-old mother was forced to wait on a hospital trolley for two hours.
"Just back from Craigavon Hospital, my mum took ill. Due to lack of ambulances St John's Ambulance people took her to the hospital, absolute chaos," he said. "She had to lie on a trolley for two hours. At 92 that is dangerous, the staff were marvellous but the visceral hatred toward politicians was clear.
"I will not repeat some of the language but I would challenge senior politicians to spend an evening in Craigavon A&E to experience the chaos their lack of care has created."
A spokesman for the Southern Trust confirmed the emergency department in Craigavon has been "extremely busy" over the Christmas and New Year period.
"Emergency departments across Northern Ireland are continuing to experience serious pressures with high demand for urgent and emergency hospital care," they said. "This week has been particularly challenging in Craigavon Hospital and we apologise to this gentleman and his mother for any distress caused.
"We again appeal to the public to come to an Emergency Department only if they are seriously ill/injured and need to be immediately treated, and that they collect relatives as soon as possible from hospital after they have been discharged."
Patients are also advised not to come to Craigavon Area Hospital if they, or anyone in their house, have cold/flu, vomiting, diarrhoea and infections.
A spokesperson for the Health and Social Care system in Northern Ireland said that all Emergency Departments continued to be under pressure.
"We would pay tribute to our staff who are working tirelessly to ensure that patients receive the care that they need," they said. "However, as predicted, the pressures on services have led to some patients waiting longer than is acceptable."
They added: "Our clear message is if you are seriously ill or injured, then the Emergency Department is the place to go. If you are not assessed as urgent, you may have to wait for a lengthy period."
Those who don't need emergency care are advised to choose alternative options such as local pharmacy or GP services. Up-to-date information on waiting times for all Emergency Departments can be accessed by visiting www.nidirect.gov.uk/emergency-department-waiting-times.