“UNPRECEDENTED” pressures on local hospitals have meant that dozens of patients are facing delays in being admitted to emergency departments.
At last Thursday’s meeting of the Western Health Trust’s board, chief executive Neil Guckian apologised for not being able to provide services to the “standard we would wish to deliver”.
On a single day last week, 131 patients waited in emergency departments in the South West
Acute Hospital (SWAH) or Altnagelvin because there were no beds available.
On Thursday, Western Trust chief, Mr Guckian, apologised to all of those who had to wait in emergency departments (most of whom would have had acute medical complications), stating that the pressures the facilities are currently facing are “unprecedented”.
He said, “I want to firstly apologise to all patients and clients who have experienced delays in service recently, this is not the standard we would wish to deliver.”
On Tuesday of last week, Altnagelvin Hospital had 37 Covid-19 patients and 44 other patients in the emergency department with ‘Decisions to Admit’ but no available beds.
Meanwhile, 30 Covid-19 patients and 20 other patients found themselves in the same situation in SWAH.
Mr Guckian said, “Across a wide range of services we are struggling to maintain activity due to workforce shortages.”
The chief executive said the heavy strain on services was the “combination of Covid-19 patients, increased delayed discharges (due to capacity/workforce issues in community services), and demand levels.”
But while public attention has focused primarily on crowded hospital wards, Mr Guckian reminded the trust board that other services, such as family and childcare social work and domiciliary care, were also frayed.
All services “are under extreme pressure from vacancies, Covid-19 absence and general sickness”.
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