Video: Dr. Brendan Lavery says Altnagelvin will need bigger A&E to handle projected 100,000 patients a year

Plans for a larger A&E department at Altnagelvin Hospital to cope with an anticipated growth in demand in the decades ahead, are at an advanced stage, it’s been confirmed.

Dr. Brendan Lavery, Clincial Lead at the A&E Department, told the ‘Journal’ how the Western Trust believes the busy Derry casualty department will soon be handling up to 100,000 patients a year and it needs more floorspace to do that safely.

Dr. Brendan Lavery, Clincial Lead at the Altnagelvin A&E.

Dr. Brendan Lavery, Clincial Lead at the Altnagelvin A&E.

“We’ve looked at the population models,” said Dr. Lavery.

“We see approximately 70,000 per year at the minute.

“Now, Altnagelvin’s attendances were relatively static up until about 2012. It was roughly about 54,000 to 55,ooo. It’s been a rapid increase since then and we expect that to continue,” he explained.

The senior clinician confirmed a business case has been developed to support the Trust’s plans and that this will support a funding application to the Health & Social Care Board (HSCB) for an expanded facility.

“I want to be the first emergency department built in Northern Ireland that isn’t too small when it opens,” he said.

Dr. Lavery was speaking after another successful week at the Derry A&E in terms of performance.

The A&E handled approximately 1,200 patients, 84 per cent of whom were seen within the four hour target.

The Western Trust’s Director of Acute Services, Geraldine McKay, said this was “a huge achievement for the department and a credit to the staff”.

Dr. Lavery added: “We do try our best with targets. We saw roughly 1,200 patients this week. That’s actually low for this department. Up until November we were regularly seeing 1,350 to 1,400 so we’ve had a little dip in attendances for the past week. It’s very transient.

“We need to get across the idea that we do, unfortunately, actually see more than that.”

Dr. Brendan Lavery, Clincial Lead at the Altnagelvin A&E.