A&E waiting times: ‘frightening’

Thursday, 3 May 2018

A&E waiting times: ‘frightening’ thumbnailCauseway A&E waiting times are ‘frightening’ according to Councillor William McCandless.

MORE than 600 patients had to wait for longer than 12 hours at the Causeway Hospital, according to "frightening" new figures.
Department of Health statistics show that last month only 66.2 per cent of almost 4,000 attendees at the Coleraine emergency department were treated, discharged or admitted within four hours of arrival. The Government target is 95 per cent.
Province-wide the number of patients waiting for longer than 12 hours jumped by more than 200 per cent from last year - from 3,115 in January to March 2017, to 9,567 in the same period this year.
Last month only 59.3 per cent of attendees at emergency departments were treated and discharged, or admitted within four hours of their arrival.
The statistics are included in a bulletin on waiting times published by the Department of Health, which covers the first quarter of 2018.
Commenting on the figures, Causeway Coast and Glens UUP Councillor William McCandless described them      as "frightening."
He added: "They do not make for pleasant reading. Recently I had a relative who had to be admitted to the Causeway Hospital, we went in at around 5pm and fortunately he was admitted to the ward at around 11.30pm.
“The care which he received was fantastic, certainly second to none.
“The staff were extremely attentive to his every need but they were literally run off their feet . "After studying the recent A&E waiting time statistics the only word to describe the scale and pace of the deteriorating situation of the NHS is frightening."
He added: "Descriptions such as crisis, breaking point and unprecedented challenges are becoming the norm now to describe the situation in the local health service. Yet the stark reality is there before us and who can deny it?
“This is not a temporary blip or a short term problem, our Health Service is in the midst of its worst ever crisis and it is getting worse with every passing day.
“We must not accept that this has become the new normal.
“We need to be doing better, the community deserve better and certainly the NHS staff deserve better."
In response the Northern Trust said Emergency Departments in Coleraine and Antrim had experienced the same "very challenging winter" as hospitals across the UK.
A spokesperson added: "The length of time that many people have had to wait is unacceptable and we apologise for this.
“The pressures are in part due to the increasingly complex needs of patients who require hospital admission, and the subsequent challenges in supporting them to return home when they are medically fit.
“The entire HSC is working collaboratively and is investing in a range of innovative services which will help prevent some people from attending EDs in the first place, developing safe alternatives to admission, improving the patient journey through the hospital and providing timely support for patients to discharge."Our core focus is to assist people in avoiding hospital in the first place through helping them stay well.
“We are also working hard to ensure that where admission is required, patients move quickly and safely through the hospital system and back into the community. To that end, we have recently implemented a new Site Coordination Model in Causeway which aims to improve patient flow. Early indications are that it is working well."


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