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Consultation on the number of Emergency Department Services in the Belfast Trust area


Public consultation starts today to consider the future configuration of Emergency Department services within the Greater Belfast area. The specific focus is on the future provision of these services within Belfast Health and Social Care Trust at Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast City Hospital and Mater Hospital. The consultation will run until Friday, 10 May 2013.

The consultation describes the option for Emergency Department services delivered across Greater Belfast. It explains the issues of safety and sustainability and the need to ensure skilled clinical teams can provide a high quality service for patients.

The preferred and recommended option proposed by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) is that Emergency Department services should be delivered from two Emergency Departments at Royal Victoria Hospital and Mater Hospital. In addition direct access to Belfast City Hospital would be available for patients who have been assessed by their GP as requiring medical assessment or admission to hospital without the need to go via an Emergency Department.

Mr John Compton, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Board, said:

“The proposed and recommended option will provide a safer and more sustainable model of care. The changes are part of an overall programme of improvement which will benefit people living across Belfast.

“Patients would continue to have access to Emergency Department services and through their GP would have direct access to medical assessment or admission to hospital; rapid response 24 hour care at home, better outcomes for stroke patients and supported discharge home from hospital.”

Mr Colm Donaghy, Chief Executive, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, said:

“Providing Emergency Department services in the greater Belfast area from both the Royal Victoria and Mater Hospitals gives the people of Belfast a sustainable, safe and resilient emergency service. It will allow us to concentrate our senior clinicians more effectively and will ensure patients are seen more quickly and therefore treated more effectively. Belfast City Hospital, as a centre of specialist services, will give GPs with patients in need of urgent care a direct and timely route to specialist teams, avoiding an unnecessary journey to an Emergency Department.”

The HSCB in collaboration with the Belfast Trust is encouraging everyone who may be affected by the decision to have the opportunity to consider the options and respond with their views. The consultation ends at 5.00pm on Friday, 10 May 2013.

Following the end of the consultation period, the HSCB will make recommendations to the Minister for a final decision.

The document, A consultation on the future configuration of Emergency Department Services in Belfast, can be obtained from the HSCB website under the Consultation section: www.hscboard.hscni.net/consult/