Northern Trust hospitals under ‘relentless pressure’ and staff feeling physical and mental strain

Northern Trust hospitals are said to be under severe pressure with huge numbers of patients waiting in emergency departments.

Medical Director Eamus O’Reilly appealed for cooperation and understanding in light of the ‘unrelenting pressure’ facing the unscheduled care wards at Antrim and Causeway Hospitals, which is most evident in emergency departments.

He said: ‘As we enter the weekend I am very concerned given that we have 66 patients on beds in our two emergency departments and the effect this may have on those who have to go. in both departments.

“This will inevitably lead to long wait times for people with less serious injuries and illnesses and could prevent us from discharging patients arriving by ambulance in a timely manner.

“We have in the past asked you to only come to the emergency room if there is no other service that can meet your needs and only for urgent or emergency care.

“It is with regret that I must ask you once again to protect our emergency services by pausing and asking if the emergency department is the right place for your medical needs.”

He added: “It does not mean that if you have an acute illness or injury such as chest pain, stroke symptoms or any significant mechanism of injury that you should not attend.

“At Antrim Hospital, we also have 57 patients who have now recovered from their acute illness and no longer require consultant-led care.

“May I ask patients and families to work with us to make sure we can get out safely to allow us to admit some of the patients who are currently waiting for a bed in the emergency department.”

He indicated that this could mean accepting a care pathway that is not their first choice and apologized.

Mr O’Reilly praised the commitment and hard work of staff throughout the pandemic, but said it was now taking a toll on their physical and mental well-being.

He concluded by asking the public to treat staff with respect during difficult times.