Crisis developing across health services - Ennis

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

SINN Féin MLA Sinéad Ennis has said the crisis developing across the health and social care services is deeply concerning.

The South Down MLA said:

“Over the weekend Trusts were asking patients with non-life threatening illnesses to stay away from emergency departments.

“While the call is understandable due to the pressures Emergency Departments are facing, it’s not clear where patients who need medical attention for serious conditions that are not life threatening can be treated.

“GP services are still under extreme pressures and there is no out of hours cover across South Down.

“I am very worried that there may be patients suffering in the isolation of their own homes with medical conditions which need attended to.

“We are in the midst of an ongoing chronic staff shortage and workers are almost off their feet in conditions which are unsustainable. Along with increased waiting times in Emergency Departments, it is becoming increasingly more challenging to be seen to by a health care professional.

“The statistics from April to June this year show that urgent and emergency care services are under pressure.

“Nearly half of those attending are waiting longer than the four-hour target and the number waiting 12 hours or longer has nearly tripled since the same time last year.

“Daisy Hill Hospital’s Emergency Department is under severe pressure with waiting times up to 109 minutes just to be seen. A clear strategy is needed to mitigate the pressure on our health care workers and to provide adequate facilities for patients to access.

"Only this year the Department of Health admitted it would not be taking forward legislation on safe staffing levels. This was deeply regrettable, and the department must make safe staffing a priority.

“At a time when there is already a shortage of staff in the health and social care system, waiting lists will continue to grow and patients’ outcomes will be negatively affected.

“The Minister for Health must do something urgently to alleviate the workforce shortage and investigate all avenues, including prioritising and expanding the workforce appeal, to get health and social care workers in place to alleviate this crisis.”

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