Belfast Telegraph

A&E services 'completely gridlocked' in Southern Health Trust: MLA

An SDLP MLA has warned that A&E services in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust are "completely gridlocked".

Sinead Bradley, the MLA for South Down, said she was deeply worried about reports she had received from front-line staff at hospitals in the area on Monday evening.

She said staff were being forced to move patients around "like dominoes" to find available beds during the bank holiday weekend.

She said the situation "seemed dire".

"A&E services are completely gridlocked and it's my understanding that there was no out of hours GP in Banbridge or Craigavon last night, nor will there be tonight," the South Down representative said.

She added: "We have nurses and doctors working to the point of exhaustion in our health service just to keep it afloat. But they can’t keep treading water forever. We need strategic political intervention to advance the transformation plan and to deliver better outcomes for patients, their families and our staff.

"It feels close to breaking point. We can’t go on much longer without the restoration of powersharing institutions to deal with this crisis."

Responding, the Southern Health Trust told the BBC that A&E services were "busy as would be expected over a bank holiday weekend and in line with the regional position".

According to the Trust, the out of hours GP service "ran as normal over the weekend".

"Base visits on Sunday night were available on other sites in the absence of a GP in Craigavon," the Trust told the BBC.

The statement added: "The Trust is happy to respond to any concerns raised by public representatives, but (is) not currently aware of any contact with Trust senior staff by the SDLP."

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