Altnagelvin A&E in ‘dire straits’ with 45 ‘very sick people’ awaiting admission to packed unit

Forty-five ‘very sick’ people are awaiting admission to Altnagelvin A&E with one senior medic appealing for the public’s help in easing pressure at the department which is, he said, in ‘dire straits’.

In an urgent appeal issued Tuesday lunchtime, Dr. Sandy Nelson, an emergency medicine consultant, said ‘there are just patients everywhere and we are struggling’. Dr. Nelson said four ambulances are currently held up at the Derry Emergency Department waiting for patients to be admitted.

The Western Trust is warning thatpeople with ‘less urgent’ conditions are likely to face ‘very long waits’.

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Dr. Nelson said the unit is under ‘severe pressure’ and is ‘currently operating beyond capacity’.

Altnagelvin A&E

Shortly after 1pm there were 110 people in the department, with very long waits to see a doctor for those who are less urgent, he confirmed.

Forty-five very sick people were awaiting admission for further treatment, meaning there is little or no space available in the department.

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Dr. Nelson said: “I've got four ambulances awaiting offload which means they can't get out into the community to come and see their emergencies.

“There are just patients everywhere and we are struggling. If you can do anything to help us it would be greatly appreciated, be that coming to pick up your relatives that are due discharge as early as possible or saving the Emergency Department for absolute emergencies. We are really in dire straits and I'm asking you for your help at this time.”

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The health authority is appealing to the public to work with it as it attempts to deliver essential care to those most in need by only attending ED if it is necessary to do so.

If your situation is life-threatening, a medical or mental health emergency, call 999 immediately or proceed straight to the Emergency Department.

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If you have an urgent, non-emergency medical situation, please use the Phone First service on 0300 020 6000 where medical personnel will direct you to the best route of treatment, which may include attending our Urgent Care and Treatment Centre at Omagh Hospital.

For more information about using our Emergency and Urgent Care services, visit