'Help us any way you can': Trust doctor in plea as Altnagelvin ED facing 'extreme pressures'

The Western Trust’s Emergency Department at Altnagelvin Hospital has experienced ‘extreme pressures’ over the Christmas and New Year period and since, it has been confirmed.

As of noon on Tuesday of this week, there were 68 people waiting to be see at Altnagelvin A&E.

A total of 44 patients were at that stage waiting over 12 hours, with 48 decisions to admit patients.

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The hospital itself was over capacity at 102%.

Dr Brendan Lavery, Medical Director at the Western Trust.

The emergency situation was replicated at South West Acute Hospital, and mirrors the challenges faced by hospital staff in many other areas across Ireland and Britain.

Dr Brendan Lavery, Medical Director at the Western Trust said: “Our Emergency Departments (EDs) are continuing to see high volumes of attendances and high levels of activity reflective across the region. A substantial number of patients require admission for further treatment/ investigation in hospitals which are unfortunately already over capacity.

“If a family member is recommended for discharge from hospital, please help us by facilitating this in a timely manner to help free up much-needed bed space for new admissions.”

Dr Lavery urged that if people are considering attending ED with a situation which is urgent but not life-threatening, use Phone First (0300 020 6000) where trained medical personnel will be able to direct you to the most appropriate place for timely treatment. The Phone First service operates from 8.00am until 12 midnight daily.

Altnagelvin Hospital.

He added: “I wish to pay tribute to all our staff across the health and social care system who continue to do their very best in extremely testing circumstances. I would also like to thank the public for their patience and understanding at this time.

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“We appeal to everyone to avoid taking unnecessary risks when driving and participating in sporting activities to prevent having to come to ED. Anyone feeling unwell please stay at home and keep well and warm to avoid spreading viruses to their loved ones and their local community. If you are in shops or public transport please consider wearing a mask/face covering.

“We know this is going to be a very difficult period for our health and social care system and we need the public to help us anyway they can. Thank you.”