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Ulster Hospital emergency department under ‘enormous’ pressure


Ulster Hospital.

Ulster Hospital.

Ulster Hospital.

Ulster Hospital’s emergency department is currently experiencing significant pressures - similar to those expected in mid-winter.

The South Eastern Trust said the pressures has resulted in some patients waiting a “very long time” to be admitted to an inpatient bed.

It comes after Health Minister Robin Swann warned on Tuesday that Northern Ireland’s emergency departments are experiencing high levels of demand.

Mr Swann said that while Covid-19 had added to the demand, the system is “struggling to cope” as a result of a number of combined pressures, including issues that have been “building up for years”.

He also referenced reports of “aggressive and abusive behaviour towards some staff” working in emergency departments.

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Meanwhile, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) said that increasing the number of elective operations has resulted in a logjam in emergency departments as there are not enough beds for emergency admissions.

Subsequently, patients are enduring “the longest waits for emergency admissions” ever seen here, with 400 people waiting longer than 12 hours in emergency departments on Tuesday, according to Dr Paul Kerr, RCEM (NI) vice president.

A spokesperson for the South Eastern Trust said it regrets any delay in patients being treated at Ulster Hospital but the priority will be given to those with life-threatening and emergency conditions.

“Whilst the Ulster Hospital emergency department remains under pressure we would encourage those with non-emergency conditions to consider other options of care,” added the trust.

“Our staff have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure patients receive the highest quality of care during these significant pressures, and we would like to pay tribute to them for their hard work.

“Please try and stay safe and help reduce demand on our emergency services.

“Those requiring repeat prescriptions ahead of the bank holiday weekend should contact their GP directly to arrange.

“Please work with us when you or your family member is medically fit for discharge, to allow us to treat as many patients as possible.”

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