Northern Trust hospitals facing ‘normal January’ levels of pressure this weekend

Northern Health and Social Care Trust hospitals are facing similar conditions to mid-January with 56 patients waiting for a bed on Friday evening, according to a senior manager.

The Trust urged the public to only go to hospital emergency departments if they need ‘urgent care’ and said the Antrim area hospital is operating at 110 per cent capacity and the Causeway Hospital at 104%.

Wendy Magowan told UTV the Trust faces a “very difficult situation” this weekend and is seeing the “type of numbers that would normally be seen on a Monday or Tuesday in mid-January”.

“We are at 20% of critical capacity in the hospital now. We have to be very aware of our resources. Health care and social services are under immense pressure at all levels,” she said.

“I would like to ask the public to be patient with our staff, they work exceptionally hard.

“We don’t have any beds tonight. However, intensive care operates as a system across Northern Ireland. I know there are intensive care beds in the system tonight and if anyone needs an intensive care bed they will be moved to one of the beds in Northern Ireland.

“This hospital is currently operating at 110% capacity and has been for a few weeks now.”

Antrim Hospital’s intensive care unit is also currently full. Covid patients represent seven of the 10 beds.

On Friday, another 1,087 confirmed cases of the virus were reported, along with two more deaths of patients who had previously tested positive.

Hospitals in the region remain under pressure with 397 Covid-positive patients, including 34 in intensive care.

Premier Paul Givan and Deputy Premier Michelle O’Neill have launched a new public information campaign, Let’s Keep Making Safer Choices.

They urged the public to “continue to be cautious” and to keep in mind that Covid-19 is still circulating in the community.

Mr Givan said the actions of the public had “undoubtedly saved lives” and urged efforts to continue.

“The small acts of each of us can have a major impact. By getting vaccinated, wearing face coverings in crowded environments or indoors, and getting regular testing, we are all playing our part to make advance society.”

Speaking to the media in County Armagh on Friday, Ms O’Neill said avoiding another lockdown was “a gift from the public”.

“We are monitoring the situation very closely, our cases remain high, so we have to monitor this very, very closely,” she said.

“We want to avoid any situation again where we move into a lockdown scenario, which is why today we launched a new campaign around protecting yourself, protecting your family, making good personal choices to protect yourself.

“I think it’s a combination of those things that’s going to get us through the winter months, so we want to avoid any scenario where you put restrictions in place again, making people’s lives difficult again. is in all our gift to prevent this through good choices.”