Derry A&E consultant says 'very ill patients waiting for beds' amid severe omicron pressure

A senior consultant at Altnagelvin A&E in Derry has said many very ill patients are waiting for hospital beds amid an overwhelming period of sustained pressure due to the spread of the omicron variant of coronavirus in the community.

By Kevin Mullan
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 6:21 pm

Dr. Brendan Lavery, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Altnagelvin Hospital has appealed to patients and their families to assist the Trust by supporting timely discharge from its hospitals as the Western Trust continues to deal with severe bed pressures due to the escalating demands of Covid-19.

He said: “Our health and social care system is experiencing an overwhelming period of sustained pressure due to the increasing spread of the Omicron variant in the community. Altnagelvin Hospital and the South West Acute Hospital, like all others across the region are working beyond capacity, with many very ill patients waiting for hospital beds.

“The essential co-operation of patients, and their families and carers on discharge, will help free up beds during this extremely challenging time.”

Dr. Brendan Lavery.

He was speaking on Thursday afternoon when there were 91 people waiting in ED in Altnagelvin and 42 people were waiting to be admitted to the Derry hospital.

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The Western Trust has asked the public to consider taking the following steps to free up essential beds for very sick patients:

· If patients are deemed medically fit by the consultant/senior doctor to go home, they and their families should ensure there are arrangements in place to be picked up promptly on the day of discharge. Medical and nursing teams can help you make these arrangements.

· If patients are deemed medically fit by the consultant/senior doctor to go home and are waiting on a care home placement, Trust staff will allocate the first place that is suitable for you. This may not necessarily be your first choice but it is important to note that the Western Trust will work closely with you to move your family member to your first choice at a later date.

· If you are deemed medically fit by the consultant/senior doctor to go home, and there is a delay in sourcing new or additional home care (domiciliary care), you may be discharged and these elements of your care package will be organised when you get home. Additional family support may be required until the home care package is finalised.

Dr. Lavery said: “Everyone is aware, that Health and Social Care across the region is under huge strain due to the current Covid-19 surge. We are in very challenging times so we are asking you to help us so we can help others who are very ill and need a hospital bed and we need your support more than ever before.

“Our staff are continuing to work hard to ensure that patients receive the treatment and care that they need. To help them, we are asking that patients do not remain in hospital any longer than necessary. We also need families to provide transport to transfer loved ones from the hospital in a timely manner (whenever this is possible). Thank you.”