ALMOST 1,000 patients attended the SWAH Emergency Department (ED) over Easter week, with the hospital continuing to struggle with “unprecedented” demand.
Staff at the ED have been highly praised for their efforts over recent days and weeks, and there have now been calls for urgent action to help ease the pressures on them.
On Monday this week the Enniskillen hospital was operating at 123 percent of its capacity, as it continues to cope with a significantly higher number of patients than usually seen at this time of year.
Over the previous week, from April 14th until Friday 22nd, a total of 959 patients attended the ED, while 157 patients were admitted to the hospital.
Last Wednesday alone there were 88 patients waiting to be seen at the ED, with 31 awaiting admission.
A spokeswoman for the Western Trust has told the Herald “the level of patients being accommodated within the ED is unprecedented” and said this was resulting in longer waiting times.
Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh, who has been contacted by constituents about the pressures, said he understood “a lack of out-of-hours doctor and GP cover” was contributing to the problem and “placing huge pressures on a limited number of staff.”
“Action needs to be taken to prevent this because it is completely unsustainable and it’s not fair on patients and it’s not fair on the staff,” he said, adding the staff were “really going beyond what might ever be expected of them to maintain a service for people who are in desperate need.”
MLA Jemma Dolan said urgent action must be taken to tackle the growing health crisis, including recruiting and retaining more staff.
“Obviously I want to commend the staff,” she said. I hope they will get fair pay and conditions, which we are fighting for as well, as they surely deserve it.
“Even before the pandemic, but obviously during the pandemic they upped the ante and now with the pressures on the ED and the like, they do deserve it.”
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