‘We cannot keep this up’, warns Derry GP

A Derry doctor says the community Covid infection rate must be urgently brought under control in a bid to take the pressure off an already on the edge healthcare system across NI.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 11:13 am
Dr Tom Black.

Dr Tom Black, chairperson of the British Medical Association in NI, spoke out after a number of hospitals spoke of “extreme pressure” on their wards.

In one case, ambulances were diverted away from Craigavon Area Hospital on Sunday evening, except in cases of immediate life-threatening situations

Tom Black says the situation is “very concerning”.

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He told the ‘Journal’: “The weekend has shown us just how fragile our health service is at the minute. The system cannot cope and healthcare staff are now exhausted after many months of sustained pressure. No one wants their family member sitting for hours alone in A&E waiting for treatment. Likewise, no one who is desperately waiting for an operation or other treatment wants to see these cancelled because our hospitals are full of people with Covid.

“We need to get our infection numbers down and under control in the community so we can buy some breathing space for hospitals. Everyone needs to get their vaccinations and their boosters and to make a small effort to wear a mask, wash their hands, get a test if you feel unwell and try to limit your social contacts.”

Dr Black says every part of the healthcare system is now under pressure.

“GPs are seeing more patients and are dealing with ongoing issues for people who can’t get the treatment they need. Staff in our A&E departments are doing the best they can, as are hospital doctors and social care workers. We cannot keep this up and we are deeply concerned as to how the health system will cope over the next few months.”