Big rise in number of falls - A&E

A Derry consultant last night warned that the number of people attending Altnagelvin's Accident and Emergency Department because of falls has almost doubled in the past week.

Mr Alan McKinney said normally the hospital treats ten fractures per day. However since the frost first began it's now risen beyond 15.

And with the number of cases of hypothermia, chest infections and flu rising, the hospital is bracing itself for a busy week.

"The Accident and Emergency Department at Altnagelvin Hospital is extremely busy," he said.

"We've seen a lot of patients who have suffered soft tissue sprains, bruising or fractures from falling on the snow and ice.

"The problem is that people who had been staying indoors got to the stage where they had to get out of the house."

'Extreme caution'

And he warned local people that they need to exercise "extreme caution" when out.

"There has been a big increase in road accidents. What we would say to people is that they wear good clothing, sensible shoes and take spare clothing with them.

"There have been reports that pedestrians do not want to walk on the footpaths because they have not been gritted and are walking on the roads.

"This could make them vulnerable to traffic which may not be able to swerve."

The Derry consultant also asked people to look out for their elderly neighbours.

"If you are going out shopping have a look around and see if there is a neighbour who you could get some shopping for.

"Hypothermia is something that we see in the hospital right through the year, but have also seen more people in with chest infections and flus."