Plans to phase out ‘walk-ins’ at hospital A&E

SWAH has not been included in the first phase of an anticipated plan to close off Emergency Departments (ED) to ‘walk ins’ and make them accessible by ambulance only.
Last month the Herald reported that a plan to overhaul the way the ED system works, and to ensure it is used for genuine emergencies only thus reducing pressures on staff, was currently being considered. This plan, which was leaked to the Irish News, would involve the opening of new urgent care centres for non-emergency cases.
Now further documents seen by the Irish News have revealed this plan could be in place by as early as next month, however it will only involve the five biggest hospitals in the North initially. These will be at the Royal Victoria, Antim Area, Craigavon Area, Altnagelvin, and the Ulster hospitals.
There were no details in the plan seen by the Irish News regarding what will happen at SWAH, which may see its ED overhauled further down the line. A second ‘clean’ ED had been operating at SWAH during the Covid surge, showing the hospital has the capacity for a second facility.

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