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NHS bed shortages in NI lead to cancelled operations and discharged patients

Published on 13/01/2012

The BBC has exclusively revealed that bed shortages in the NHS in Northern Ireland have led to patients being discharged and operations being cancelled.

A leaked email to senior management last Friday said that the Antrim, Ulster and Belfast emergency departments were badly affected with a number of patients waiting many hours on trolleys for admission.

The email put health staff at several of Northern Ireland’s accident and emergency departments under pressure to discharge patients and cancel operations to free up beds.

The leaked email warned of a ‘bed crisis’ in Antrim Area Hospital, and said patients were waiting on trolleys at Royal Victoria Hospital. Staff in Belfast were advised that only the most urgent planned admissions could go ahead.

It says: "In Belfast we have had 154 unscheduled admissions in last 24 hours which represents a significant increase with unfortunately a number of patients waiting many hours on trolleys for admission.”

"It is imperative therefore that we expedite discharges urgently to enable us to manage our unscheduled take and any overflow from other hospitals.”

The Northern Health Trust issued a statement in response to the BBC making details of the e-mail public.

In it, the trust apologised unreservedly to anyone who had to wait for a bed at Antrim area hospital. It also said that at busy times the trust accepted that patients who had been assessed as needing a bed may have to wait on trolleys in the emergency department.

The trust also said that their key priority remained ensuring that all patients received safe, reliable care.

Those living in Northern Ireland who are worried about NHS care should compare health insurance quotes online now. Aviva offer a discount to Northern Ireland residents on the signature hospital list, making premiums significantly lower.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012


Categories:  NHS and Hospitals
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