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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

“Hospital flow remains very challenging” – Northern Trust

“Hospital flow remains very challenging” in the Northern Trust, board members have been told following a recent appeal for public support with discharges.

Speaking at a meeting on Thursday morning, Wendy Magowan, the Trust’s Director of Operations, told members that “increasingly patients being discharged require a period of care in the community” before going home.

“Flow remains exceptionally challenging.”

On June 13, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust issued an urgent appeal on social media for public support with hospital discharges saying: “There are over 70 very sick people waiting in our Emergency Departments for admission to wards.

“We are appealing for the full co-operation of patients, families and carers in supporting discharge and helping us to free up much needed beds.”

Board Chair Bob McCann noted a “steady increase” in 12-hour waits at Antrim Hospital’s Emergency Department since last September and at Causeway Hospital, in Coleraine where he said it has been “fluctuating” despite taking “every mitigating step we can”.

The Operations Director stated: “It has been significantly worse than we have seen it. Pressure is being felt across the entire region. People are waiting in ED longer than anyone would want.”

On Friday afternoon (24 June), the Northern Trust issued a warning that casualty at Antrim and Causeway Hospitals was under pressure with 137 people in the Emergency Departments and 60 patients awaiting beds.

The director said there has been  a “mix of respiratory and older patients” in the Northern Trust’s hospitals recently.

“We have seen that rise over the last number of weeks.”

She also commented on a “surge in cardiology activity during the last couple of months”.

“There has been a higher number of cardiology patients than we have had for a long time.”

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