Altnagelvin will never be able to cope with pressures without new A&E says Delargy

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Altnagelvin will never be able to cope with the number of admissions to its Emergency Department until a new facility is funded and developed.

That’s according to Foyle MLA Pádraig Delargy, who has claimed there is simply not enough space in the current ED to meet the day-to-day pressures faced by staff.

Speaking at Stormont this week the Sinn Féin MLA hailed a new Minor Injuries Unit at the Derry hospital.

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He said it had helped divert less urgent cases away from the main ED since opening in March but warned that the Department of Health needs to provide more funding for a new A&E at the Derry hospital.

Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy.Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy.
Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy.

"I welcome the opening of the minor injuries unit at Altnagelvin, which has helped to alleviate some of the pressures. In only a few weeks, the unit has seen over 2,000 patients, which has made a critical difference, but, until there is a new ED at Altnagelvin, the hospital will never be able to cope with the huge number of admissions,” he told MLAs on Monday.

He spoke of witnessing the acute pressure on ED staff himself during a visit.

"I was there recently not as an MLA but as a close relative of someone in the emergency department. I saw at first hand the pressure that the nurses, doctors, porters, cleaners, admin staff and, indeed, the whole team are under in that department.

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Altnagelvin new Minor Injuries Unit has already seen 2,000 patients and is easin...

"There is simply not enough space, so myriad people with complex medical conditions are there, waiting for treatment in a confined space that is totally inappropriate for their emergency medical needs.

"No one chooses or plans to be in an emergency department. If we look at the issue simply by examining the critical mass of people in Derry, we will never solve the problem,” he said.

Back in March the erstwhile Health Minister Robin Swann says the Western Trust will be invited to submit a business case for a new ED at Altnagelvin once ‘budget affordability is confirmed’.

On Monday Mr. Delargy urged the current minister Mike Nesbitt to ‘look at the business case that will come from the Trust.

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"I implore all local representatives to get behind that and ensure that we have access to an accident and emergency service at Altnagelvin that is fit for purpose,” he said.

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