Durkan calls for A&E staff re-think

A Derry MLA has called for a re-think of how hospital Emergency departments are staffed in the north.

Mark H Durkan, the SDLP’s health spokesman, says there should be a legal obligation on hospitals to have at least one senior doctor on duty in A&E units at all times.

“There must be better management of junior doctors to ensure that they receive adequate experience to equip them to work in A&E units and to meet the needs of A&E services now and in the future.

“It is also vital that we have highly qualified experienced staff on duty in our hospitals to ensure the best standard of care is given to patients. We believe that the government’s emphasis has to be on keeping people out of A&E by investing in primary care within communities and focusing on health promotion.”

His comments come after the British Medical Association in the north warned about the potential impact on services caused by a lack of junior doctors.

David Farren, chairman of the BMA’s junior doctor committee, says at present there is a shortage of around 86 junior doctors. And he warned that could rise to 120 by February of next year.

Mr Durkan says he has raised the issue with NHS management in the north and is “hopeful that the alarming shortage of junior doctors will be redressed over the coming years.”