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Update on Pressures at NI Emergency Departments


The Health and Social Care Board has continued to work closely with all five Health and Social Care Trusts over the weekend to monitor the situation in Emergency Departments.

No patients waited longer than 12 hours at any Emergency Department across Northern Ireland at 9am on Saturday or Sunday. Three patients were waiting longer than 12 hours this morning and whilst this is regrettable the overall position in Emergency Departments across Northern Ireland is significantly improved compared to the start of last week.

The Board would like to thank those clinical and managerial staff who are continuing to work diligently to improve the situation across the Trusts. Their dedication and professionalism has ensured that the very sickest people have been seen and cared for as quickly as possible.

Due to the ongoing pressures being experienced, the Belfast and Western Trusts have postponed a further 13 non-urgent inpatient elective procedures this week (11 procedures in Belfast Trust and 2 procedures in Western Trust). Please note this is a provisional figure and may be subject to change. This compares to 179 non-urgent inpatient and day-case elective procedures postponed last week across Trusts.

The South Eastern, Northern and Southern Trusts have indicated that they have no plans at this stage to postpone any elective activity this week. However, all Trusts will continue to review their positions on a daily basis.

Where any appointments are postponed, the Trusts will contact anyone affected by telephone or in writing and endeavour to reschedule them within the next three to six weeks.

Any person with an elective appointment, who has not received a telephone call from their Trust, should proceed with their appointment as arranged.

During periods when there is pressure on the system, plans are put in place to manage any problems and most importantly, to prioritise the care of the sickest patients. These may include opening new beds and bringing in additional staff, or postponing some elective surgery for a short period of time.

The Board apologises to those patients affected by procedures being postponed and fully recognises this will cause frustration and concern among some patients and their families. We thank those patients affected and their families for their continued patience and understanding during this time.

Many common ailments can be treated effectively through self-care at home or by seeking advice from your local pharmacist. However, those with serious concerns about their health should of course always consult their GP or an Out-of-hours service such as Minor Injury Units or GP Out-of-Hours. Emergency and 999 services are for life threatening and serious conditions. Choosing the right care for you will help ensure that Emergency Departments are used appropriately and will help ease pressures on the services.

For more information about Choose Well and the range of services available visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/choosewell.