Emergency department attendances hit new highs as almost 400 patients seek care in 24 hour period

The number of Emergency Department attendances hit new levels this week, with almost 400 patients seeking emergency care at Antrim Area Hospital in just 24 hours.

Ambulance crews have also struggled to meet turnaround times at hospitals, because of ED pressures and increased demand exacerbated by the bank holiday weekend.

This is the situation just one week after the medical profession joined forces to call for urgent political action to tackle the health crisis.

Mark Cochrane from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said: " We've received a significant increase in pressure across the three day weekend which included the bank holiday."

"Our hospitals have felt increases as well so that has a knock on effect for us in terms of getting our ambulances released.

In January and February moves were made by trusts to ensure ambulances with patients didn't have to wait outside emergency departments, this month it was to be reduced to two hours but this weekend that timescale was broken on 109 occasions.

John Creaney form UNISON said: " It has been incredibly difficult with the additional two patients per ward has now risen to five, it's unsafe for both patients and staff to deal with."

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