Deborah McAleese: Despite the daily battle, humanity of healthcare staff shines through

You have to see it to understand how bad it is.

Row upon row, patients on hospital trollies cramped in together - no space and no privacy between them. 

The noise is incessant with a constant whir of medical equipment, beeping of heart monitors, patients coughing, some vomiting, phones ringing at the nurses' station.

It feels hot and claustrophobic and just when you think there is no more space, an ambulance crew arrives with another patient. 

This isn't a field hospital. It is a Monday morning in the Emergency Department at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast - Northern Ireland's busiest hospital.

It was here, in 2014, that a major incident was declared due to a large backlog of patients.

At one stage 42 people were waiting on trolleys in the ED.

The then-health minister Edwin Poots was booed by protesting staff when he visited the hospital the following day. At the time the situation was described as a "one-off" incident.

But nine years later, it's not a one off. And the situation is worse - much worse.

On the day that UTV was invited to film within the department, to see the pressures first hand, there were 52 people waiting for a bed on a ward. 

Unfortunately this has become the norm. In fact, we were told by staff that it wasn't as busy as usual. 

It is in the Emergency Department where the health service pressures are most visible. But these pressures of overcrowding, lack of capacity and workforce shortages are replicated across the rest of the hospital. 

It is a daily battle against adversity and no end is in sight. 

But another constant across the hospital is the resilience and determination of staff to do their best for their patients.

Amid these difficult times, their humanity shines through.

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