Belfast Telegraph

Pneumonia patient (79) waited three days for bed at Newry hospital

By Cate McCurry

An elderly woman with pneumonia was forced to wait almost three days to be admitted to a hospital ward.

The 79-year-old was taken by ambulance to the Accident and Emergency department at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry on Saturday evening.

It wasn't until Tuesday afternoon - some 67 hours later - that she was admitted to a ward.

BBC NI said her family described the ordeal as "horrendous" and blamed the long delays on the collapse of Stormont.

In a statement to the broadcaster, the family added: "Our anger is in no way directed at the hospital staff, but instead at Stormont.

"This crisis is a direct result of our lack of government and we would urge all politicians to get a government running again as soon as possible."

A spokeswoman for the Southern Health Trust said the waiting time was "unacceptable" and apologised to the elderly patient.

Eddie Lynch, the Commissioner for Older People, said "lessons should be learned".

He said: "It's completely unacceptable that somebody has to wait almost three days to be admitted with a condition like pneumonia."

A paramedic, who remained anonymous, described to the BBC how morale was at "rock bottom".

"It's so busy. The last couple of weeks have been a relentless onslaught.

"There's normally a queue of patients already lying on trolleys and as the paramedic you can't leave until you've done a handover."

Belfast Telegraph

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