Altnagelvin: ‘vital’ beds reopen quickly

Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.
Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.

Every effort must be made to quickly reopen 25 beds closed due to a vomiting bug and staff shortages at Altnagelvin Hospital, Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.

Mr McCartney said the suspension of routine procedures will cause distress to those patients who were who will now face an additional wait.

The beds were closed last week due to a vomiting bug, delays in discharging patients and staffing issues at the hospital, while patients are being notified that all routine procedures are being cancelled.

Mr McCartney said: “While I appreciate the important clinical reasons for the temporary closure in order to protect patients from a vomiting bug, it is vital that these beds are reopened as soon as possible. Every effort should be made to ensure that happens.

“Issues regarding staff shortages in Altnagelvin need to be addressed immediately.

“The department needs to develop a comprehensive workforce strategy covering all aspects of the Health and Social Care Service which they were tasked with doing by former Sinn Féin Health Minister, Michelle O’Neill, in her transformation plan, Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together.

“It is important that staff are supported to continue to deliver the top-class services they are trained to do.”

Dr. Dermot Hughes, the Medical Director with the Western Trust, said last week that increased infection prevention and control measures have been put in place.

“The Trust is reviewing the situation through its business continuity arrangements on a daily basis to ensure we maximise available bed capacity and ensure the most urgent scheduled operations and treatments are done,” Mr Hughes said.