THERE have been calls for staffing issues at SWAH to be addressed urgently after another weekend of long waits at the SWAH Emergency Department (ED).
In recent weeks the Western Trust have issued a number of appeals to the public asking people to only attend the Department if the case of a medical or mental health emergency.
On Sunday this week the Trust said there were 44 people waiting to be seen at the SWAH ED, with 21 people waiting on admission to the hospital. On Monday this had increased to 52 waiting to be seen, and 23 waiting to be admitted.
“Please find suitable alternative healthcare options available to you, such as your community pharmacy or you GP,” a Trust spokesman urged the public. Phone First is in operation in our Emergency Departments and Urgent Care and Treatment Centre. Call 0300 020 6000.”
Local Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh called for urgent action to relieve staffing pressures at the hospital.
“The reality is that we’re seeing patients in the Emergency Department for over 48 hours,” Cllr O’Cofaigh told the Herald. “Those of us who are trying to look for answers to the situation are not receiving any acknowledgement never mind a response.”
He continued: “There is a great degree of suffering involved, if you are sitting in a corridor on a trolly.
“Nobody is suggesting it’s the staff’s fault. The staff are performing miracles to keep the show on the road, but the reality is this a problem of under-staffing and is related to the rate of pay for NHS workers, which is one of the reasons we have the staffing crisis.
“We need to see real attention to end this crisis in our EDs.”
“There is a staffing crisis right across Northern Ireland at the moment, but undoubtedly the pressures are higher in rural areas where it is more difficult to recruit and retain,” he said. “We haven’t been training enough nurses, or even doctors, over the last decade and now this has all come to a head, with Covid being the last straw.”
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