Derry A and E unit to remain at full capacity

editorial image

Health Minister Edwin Poots has pledged that Altnagelvin Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department is to be maintained at full capacity.

Mr Poots gave an assurance on Derry’s A and E unit to SDLP Health spokesman Mark H Durkan, after announcing controversial proposals which could mean the end of accident and emergency services at Belfast City Hospital.

Speaking following a special sitting of the Assembly’s Health Committee, Mr Durkan told the ‘Journal’ that he hopes the minister will improve services at Altnagelvin’s emergency unit. “With the Minister’s rationalisation of A and E services across the North, and a shortage of junior doctors making units harder to staff, I was naturally concerned about the implications for Derry. The Minister has assured me that A and E at Altnagelvin is in no danger of being reduced. Indeed I drew from him a commitment to look at the staffing of the unit in a bid to improve the service for patients and to relieve the stress on overworked staff.”

Mr Poots said this week that a strategic problem existed across health services, with too many hospitals and not enough junior doctors. The most recent figures show a seven-fold increase in the number of people waiting more than 12 hours for treatment at casualty departments in Northern Ireland.