In preparation for temporary changes to the opening hours at the Lagan Valley and Downe Hospitals’ Emergency Departments this weekend, the Health and Social Care Board has been working closely with a number of Trusts to ensure continued access to safe, sustainable and high quality urgent care services and to minimise any disruption.
The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust has been experiencing difficulties in maintaining sufficient medical staffing cover at both Lagan Valley and Downe Hospitals’ Emergency Departments. Despite extensive efforts to sustain services as normal, the Board accepts the Trust’s view that changes to the opening hours at the Lagan Valley and Downe Hospitals’ Emergency Departments are unavoidable.
From the weekend commencing Saturday 4th January 2014, temporary changes to the opening hours of the Emergency Departments at the Lagan Valley and Downe Hospitals will be put in place. From this date they will be open from Monday to Friday 8.00am – 8.00pm and closed on Saturdays and Sundays. A range of measures are now in place, including extra support for GP Out of Hours in the Lisburn and Downpatrick areas and direct admission to Lagan Valley and Downe Hospitals via the GP Out of Hours service. Information about the full range of health and social care services in your area can be found at www.nidirect.gov.uk/choosewell
On average a total of 27 patients are admitted from the Emergency Departments to the Downe and Lagan Valley Hospitals each weekend (approximately on average 11 to the Downe and 16 to Lagan Valley). It is expected that at least half of these patients will continue to be admitted directly via the GP Out of Hours service to Lagan Valley and Downe Hospitals, rather than having to be admitted via an Emergency Department. The remainder are expected to be admitted to other hospitals, mainly the Royal Victoria Hospital and Ulster Hospital with very small numbers going to Craigavon, Antrim and Daisy Hill Hospitals. Given the small numbers involved it is not anticipated that this should overly pressurise the HSC system or create any major problems.
Additional services are being put in place across Northern Ireland during the transitional period. These include:
Over the forthcoming weekend, the Board will co-ordinate system wide meetings to ensure the HSC system can respond to any changing circumstances.
The Board and South Eastern Local Commissioning Group will be working with the South Eastern Trust to accelerate plans for the long term future for the Downe and Lagan Valley Emergency Departments.