Western Trust makes appeal for help discharging A&E patients from over-capacity Altnagelvin Hospital

The Western Health and Social Care Trust has urged family members to assist with the discharge of their loved ones from Altnagelvin Hospital’s emergency department, as the hospital is currently operating at over 100% capacity.

osting on Twitter, the trust wrote: “We urge the assistance of families in expediting discharge where possible. If a loved one is recommended for discharge, we would appeal to family members or carers to work with us to help with prompt discharge.”

Ryan Smyth, one of the A&E consultants within the Derry facility added: “We currently have 33 assessment cubicles, of which 23 are major and ambulatory cubicles, six Covid cubicles and four resuscitation cubicles. 

“On an average day we would see approximately above 200 patients, of which 80% we would see and discharge from the department and approximately one in five would require admission to the hospital for further assessment or ongoing management. 

“Due to the current inpatient pressures and the difficulty in discharging patients back to the community, there is a backlog within our department which routinely sees each of our cubicles being taken up by an inpatient. 

“Due to this we try and strive to provide the best comfort we can to our patients, but this cannot be done in all instances. We would ask for your patience regarding this and we would be keen that whenever you present to the department that you have patience with regards to the assessment within the department.”

The Western Trust has also called for nursing staff to cover shifts at the hospital over the next 48-72 hours. 

A similar appeal went out on social media last week for registered and unregistered nursing staff who are available to work to contact the Belfast Health Trust, after it warned that it was dealing with significant pressure in both the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Children’s Hospital on Thursday. 

The Department of Health’s latest coronavirus statistics reveal that hospitals across Northern Ireland are currently at 105% capacity, with seven out of 11 facilities running over capacity.

There are 480 Covid inpatients throughout the region, of whom 10 are being treated in intensive care units (ICU).

Earlier this month, the Health Minister launched a new consultation asking the public to have their say on reforms to urgent and emergency care in Northern Ireland.

Setting out three “strategic priorities” to transform the service, the consultation will run until June 15.

In the consultation document, the minister Robin Swann acknowledges the “severe pressures” currently facing hospitals and said the current system “falls far short of the service we all strive to provide”.

Belfast Telegraph