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COVID-19 – Service Pressures

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COVID-19 – Service Pressures

Health and Social Care (HSC) continues to respond to the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19 during the current surge of the pandemic in Northern Ireland.

These challenges are causing significant disruption across all health and care services, including lengthy delays in our Emergency Departments (EDs) and cancellations of some planned appointments and treatment.

The following update provides a regional overview of the current pressures and challenges across the HSC System in Northern Ireland.


Number of people in Emergency Departments

Snapshot at 12 noon on 29 November 2021
Trust Hospital 0-4 hours Over 4 – 8 hours Over 8 to 12 hours Over 12 hours Total Waiting in Emergency Department Number of Patients Waiting for Admission to a Hospital Bed (DTA) ED Attendances midnight on 27th to midnight on 28th
Belfast MATER 10 1 2 6 19 9 69
Belfast RVH 36 6 4 20 66 22 258
Belfast Belfast Total 46 7 6 26 85 31 327
Northern ANTRIM 44 4 6 33 87 49 230
Northern CAUSEWAY 14 4 0 2 20 3 99
Northern Northern Total 58 8 6 35 107 52 329
South Eastern ULSTER 68 4 6 44 122 50 217
South Eastern South East Total 68 4 6 44 122 50 217
Southern CRAIGAVON 39 3 4 22 68 24 159
Southern DAISY HILL 22 2 4 10 38 11 139
Southern Southern Total 61 5 8 32 106 35 298
Western ALTNAGELVIN 34 4 3 19 60 19 162
Western SWAH 15 4 3 9 31 13 79
Western Western Total 49 8 6 28 91 32 241
Regional Position Regional Total 282 32 32 165 511 200 1412

Emergency Department Figures

(Updated every Monday at approximately 4pm)
Weekly Position: 19 November – 25 November 2021

Trust Hospital ED Attendances Number of Waits > 12hrs % of Waits <4 hrs Non-Elective Admissions
Belfast MATER 450 53 47% 128
Belfast RVH 1,914 310 47% 530
Belfast BCH 27
Belfast RBHSC 1,061 13 57% 141
Belfast Belfast Total 3,425 376 50% 826
Northern ANTRIM 1,611 198 54% 392
Northern CAUSEWAY 785 59 64% 157
Northern Northern Total 2,396 257 57% 549
South Eastern ULSTER 1,790 329 48% 503
South Eastern LAGAN VALLEY 397 1 85% 48
South Eastern South East Total 2,187 330 54% 551
Southern CRAIGAVON 1,383 215 46% 384
Southern DAISY HILL 940 92 56% 250
Southern Southern Total 2,323 307 50% 634
Western ALTNAGELVIN 1,128 141 46% 361
Western SWAH 683 93 55% 158
Western OMAGH 269 0 100% 66
Western Western Total 2,080 234 56% 585
Regional Position Regional Total 12,411 1,504 53% 3,145

[Source: Health and Social Care Board]

Cancelled elective procedures

HSC Trusts continue to make extremely difficult decisions to cancel some elective procedures to free nursing and medical resources to support the Intensive Care Units and the increasing number of patients with COVID-19 admitted to medical wards.

Unfortunately, cancer services have been adversely affected. Trusts are working very hard to maintain cancer care in so far as that is possible during the current surge.

Cancer services are seeking to maintain chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other non-surgical treatments and alternative treatments will be provided in the absence of surgical options.

A regional approach has also been developed to ensure that any available theatre capacity across Northern Ireland is allocated for those patients most in need of surgery, both during the surge and as we come out of this surge.

HSC is working to ensure that any cancelled procedures are rescheduled as soon as possible.

Cancellations will be kept under review as the impact of COVID-19 is being felt in all areas of the system and it is anticipated that this pressure will continue over the next number of weeks.

HSC would like to apologise to those patients, their families and carers who have been affected by surgeries being postponed and for any anxiety and distress caused to them.

From 19 November to 25 November 2021

In total 6201 elective procedures (inpatient and daycase admission and regular attenders) were scheduled of which:

From 12 November to 18 November 2021

In total 5642 elective procedures (inpatient and daycase admission and regular attenders) were scheduled of which:

From 5 November to 11 November 2021

In total 6085 elective procedures (inpatient and daycase admission and regular attenders) were scheduled of which:

Bed pressures

Visit the Department of Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard and click on the General Bed Occupancy link for all the latest bed information across hospitals in Northern Ireland.

DoH-COVID-19-dashboard

Department of Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard

Covid Centre update 

There are currently 10 primary care COVID-19 centres across Northern Ireland. They are located in Belfast, Ballymena, Coleraine, Newtownards, Downpatrick, Lisburn, Banbridge, Dungannon, Altnagelvin and South West Acute Hospital.

COVID-19 centres are a GP-led innovation that was an urgent and immediate response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The centres ensure that primary care services can be maintained, by enabling patients who have COVID-19 symptoms to be treated separately from those patients who have other conditions which require assessment or treatment in primary care.

From 6 April 2020 to 3 October 2021

From 27 September 2021 to 3 October 2021

[Source: Health and Social Care Board]


Further information

For enquiries about the information available on this page contact the Communications Office at the Health and Social Care Board Tel: 028 9536 3278