Dr. Sandy Nelson urges people only to attend A&E if 'unavoidable'

An emergency consultant at Altnagelvin Hospital has appealed to people only to attend A&E if 'unavoidable' following another large spike in attendances.

Dr. Sandy Nelson spoke out on Monday evening after very long waits were reported at the Derry emergency department.

"I'm here to tell you that unfortunately we're experiencing a very high demand for our services and people are having to wait much longer than we would like.

"Whilst critically ill patients will always be seen as soon as possible, unfortunately if you are suffering from a less acute illness you may have to wait a significant period of time. There's a few things you can do to help us," he said.

Altnagelvin Hospital

The large influx of patients at casualty on Monday was only the latest in a series of spikes in demand lately.

Dr. Nelson encouraged people to consider alternative health services that may be more appropriate for their needs.

"If you feel that is non urgent please use Western Trust Phone First, use your GP, use your pharmacist, try and use the available facilities that can try and avoid coming up to the Department if it is unavoidable.

"Please be aware that you may have to wait a significant period of time.

"Try and attend by yourself unless you're a vulnerable adult or a child and just be aware that staff are trying their very hardest to do the best they can under extremely difficult circumstances," said the Derry medic.