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Urgent appeal issued to free up ‘much needed’ hospital beds across Northern Ireland


Hospital Ward

Hospital Ward

Hospital Ward

The Department of Health is appealing for public support to free up “much needed” hospital beds in Northern Ireland.

Officials are urging patients and their families to do all they can to ensure a “timely discharge” to help relieve “severe and ongoing” pressures.

They insist staff are doing their best to provide care to all those who need it.

“Hospital patients and their families can play their part by supporting timely discharge – helping to free up much needed beds,” a spokesperson said.

“The service is currently under severe pressure with demand on hospital services escalating over the past few days.

“All of our hospitals are working beyond capacity at present with many very ill patients waiting for hospital beds.

“The essential co-operation of patients, and their families and carers on discharge, will help free up beds during this extremely challenging time.”

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The HSC has issued an urgent appeal to patients and families in order to free up beds for “very sick” patients.

They are asking all of us to follow this advice:

  • If patients are deemed medically fit by the consultant/senior doctor to go home, they and their families should ensure there are arrangements in place to be picked up promptly on the day of discharge. Medical and nursing teams can help you make these arrangements.
  • If patients are deemed medically fit by the consultant/senior doctor to go home and are waiting on a care home placement, HSC Trust staff will allocate the first place that is suitable for you. This may not necessarily be your first choice but it is important to note that HSC Trusts will work closely with you to move your family member to your first choice at a later date.
  • If you are deemed medically fit by the consultant/senior doctor to go home, and there is a delay in sourcing new or additional home care (domiciliary care), you may be discharged and these elements of your care package will be organised when you get home. Additional family support may be required until the home care package is finalised.
  • Agreeing to discharge rather than remaining in hospital will not disadvantage you and does not mean you have to wait longer for your domiciliary care package.

Health chiefs are asking relatives of loved ones to provide transport to and from hospital in a timely manner when required.

“The HSC system is in very challenging times and we are asking you to help us so we can help others who are very ill and need a hospital bed,” a statement reads.

“Put simply, we need your support urgently.”

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