Hospital boss makes Emergency Department winter public appeal

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Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
Southern Trust Interim Director of Acute Services, Debbie Burns welcomed recent waiting time statistics which confirm that Southern Trust Emergency Departments continue to be among the busiest and best performing in Northern Ireland.

Debbie Burns, Southern Trust Interim Director of Acute Services

Almost 31,000 attendances were recorded in Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospital Emergency Departments between July and September. 83% of people during this period were seen and treated within 4 hours and nobody waited longer than 12 hours. However, Debbie was also keen to stress that during the busy winter period ahead, it will be much more difficult to keep waiting times in Trust Emergency Departments to a minimum and she appealed to the public for their help by only coming to Emergency Departments if they have serious and urgent conditions. Speaking to Newry Times, Debbie said, “During the winter months, our hospitals get much busier as higher numbers (than normal) of very sick and often elderly patients with respiratory/flu-related and other conditions are admitted to hospital. These patients often have to stay in hospital for longer than normal. “There will always be peak busy times in any year when there are ‘spikes’ in demand for hospital beds. This sudden increased demand for hospital beds impacts on Emergency Departments as it can take longer to admit patients to wards – leading to longer waiting times for people arriving in the Emergency Department. “At challenging times like this, when we have high patient occupancy and activity levels, contingency plans are put in place across the hospital including bringing in extra staff and opening up additional beds but even with these extra measures and despite the best efforts of staff, delays are sometimes unavoidable. Debbie continued, “We need the public’s help to ensure that the Emergency Department is operating in the most effective way possible especially during the busy winter period. People should only come to the Emergency Department if they have serious and urgent conditions. “There are significant numbers of people attending our emergency departments with minor ailments and they are diverting doctors and nurses from the job of dealing with people who are real emergencies. “There are other services available like Minor Injuries, GP or GP Out of Hours and pharmacies that can help you so please think carefully before choosing the right one this winter.
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