News

Southern Trust cancels 222 operations in one month

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

THE revelation that 222 planned operations have had to be cancelled in the Southern Trust area in little over a month has been met with concern from SDLP MLAs Sinead Bradley and Justin McNulty.

Following questions raised with the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, South Down MLA Ms Bradley learned that the operations had to be cancelled between December 1 2017 and January 4.

"The Trust explained how a significantly higher than expected number of people were admitted to our hospitals and that this surge in patient numbers impacted on their capacity to proceed with planned surgery," said Ms Bradley.

"I also recently led an SDLP delegation to meet with the Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland who quite clearly illustrated problems surrounding closed beds and challenges on discharging patients requiring care packages.

"Through work in my constituency office it is clear to see how patients, unable to easily access their local G.P.'s or out of hours services are increasing presenting to the Emergency Department as their only point of entry to care.

"These additional cases challenge already overstretched hospitals, inevitably impact on capacity issues, and result in a breakdown of services elsewhere such as the 222 operation cancellations.

"It must be stressed that in all the cases shared with me, many of which are deeply concerning and frustrating, I have heard nothing but praise for the over worked health care staff who continue to look after patients under such difficult circumstances."

On a more optimistic note, Ms Bradley added:"Through my many meetings with the Department for Health I am aware that significant work aiming to introduce meaningful reform throughout the health care system is underway.

"The SDLP are constructively working with others to find a way to ensure this work can be delivered."

Meanwhile Mr McNulty MLA for Newry and Armagh also expressed his alarm at the amount of routine operations that have been cancelled.

"These revelations are shocking but not necessarily surprising," he insisted.

"People have been waiting months, even years and often in agony for what should be routine operations. To have them cancelled because our health system cannot cope with seasonal pressures is wrong and deeply concerning.'

"How often do we hear the expression, 'your health is your wealth' and yet we really don't value it until we suffer from ill health.

"Those who have had their operations cancelled or postponed have suffered long enough, they are being let down by our health system and indeed our government.'

"At present we have no Minister and no leadership. I'm not saying a Minister would be able to go in and do the operations and everything would be rosy. But with a Minister comes leadership, accountability and decision making.

"A minister could re-prioritise resources to ensure this doesn't happen. It's long since passed the time our two major parties stopped huffing and puffing to set their differences aside and put people first."

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