Belfast Trust review after elderly patient dies in emergency department awaiting admission

Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast Credit: UTV

An elderly patient died on a hospital trolley in Belfast at the weekend while waiting to be admitted for treatment.

Over the weekend, hospitals faced 'relentless' and 'extreme' pressures.

It has been reported that attempts were made to resuscitate the elderly woman in the Royal Victoria Hospital's Emergency Department.

She had been waiting for a number of hours to be admitted for treatment.

The Belfast Health Trust has passed on its condolences to the woman's family.

In a statement the Trust said: "Belfast Trust would like to send our condolences to this patient’s family, our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

"We have reviewed this patient’s care and spoken to their family. Out of respect for the patient’s family, we will not make any further comment."

Over the weekend The Belfast Trust tweeted about the strain on its services describing "relentless" pressures.

Extreme pressures were also seen at the weekend at Antrim Area Hospital in the Northern Trust - its emergency department was closed on Saturday and a major incident was declared.

Patients had to be redirected from Antrim Area Hospital Emergency Department on Saturday evening after it closed to the public temporarily for the first time ever.

Ambulances were sent to other hospitals as a contingency measure after the department reached full capacity.

A spokesperson for the Northern Trust said senior staff were holding crunch meetings on Sunday as the Emergency Department remains under extreme pressure.

In a statement, the Department of Health said:

"The Department of Health remains deeply concerned about the situation in our hospitals and across the health and social care system. "The regional planning for winter pressures has been spelt out publicly and in detail. "It has always been clear that these plans will only mitigate the problems, rather than resolve them. The fundamental reality is that we have a serious mismatch between demand for care and the capacity of the system to provide it. "Neighbouring jurisdictions are facing similar challenges. "We need everyone across society to support our health service in every way they can. "Hospitals do not have unlimited capacity and it is imperative that when patients have been deemed medically fit they leave the hospital setting."

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