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Two Health Trusts warn of long wait times at Emergency Departments – with 94 patients waiting at Antrim Area Hospital


Antrim Area Hospital. Photo Pacemaker Press

Antrim Area Hospital. Photo Pacemaker Press

Antrim Area Hospital. Photo Pacemaker Press

The public have been advised to avoid attending Antrim Area Hospital unless their condition is “urgent”, with the Northern Trust confirming 94 people were waiting in the Emergency Department on Tuesday morning.

The Trust said the hospital was at “full capacity” as of 8.30am and said 66 patients were also awaiting a bed at the site.

In a statement on social media, Trust officials said: “We are asking people not to attend unless their condition is urgent or life threatening and to use alternative services.

"To help us free up beds, we also need patients who are fit for discharge to accept placements that are immediately available.”

Meanwhile, the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said both their EDs at Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals are “extremely busy with large numbers of patients awaiting admission”.

"Please only attend if your condition is urgent or life threatening. If your condition is less urgent, you may face a long wait,” they said.

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"We are appealing for the full co-operation of patients, families and carers in supporting discharge and helping us to free up much needed beds.”

The long waiting times come as a leading Northern Irish GP claimed July this year is “worse than any winter” the health service has ever experienced.

Dr Alan Stout, chair of the GP committee of the BMA, said the current pressure right across the system has never been seen in his lifetime and suggested not just this winter but “the next number of years” will be “extraordinarily difficult”.

Speaking to BBC NI he added: “If there is ever a quiet period in health it is July, [but] July this year is worse than any winter that we have ever experienced in health,” he said.

“If you look right across health, look at the pressures in general practice – we have never had pressure like this in general practice. Never ever in my lifetime.”

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