Department of Health deeply concerned about situation in Northern Ireland hospitals

Antrim Hospital was forced to close its Emergency Department Credit: Pacemaker

The Department of Health says it is deeply concerned about the situation in hospitals in Northern Ireland.

They’ve pleaded for patients to leave hospital when deemed medically fit to leave the hospital setting.

On Saturday Antrim Area Hospital was forced to close its Emergency Department as staff said they couldn’t safely look after any more patients.

“The Department of Health remains deeply concerned about the situation in our hospitals and across the health and social care system,” a statement read.

“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.

“Every delayed discharge means a bed is being withheld from a very sick person waiting in an emergency department or in an ambulance outside a hospital, and further impacts on the system’s ability to respond to need in the community.”

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