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Northern Trust statement after Emergency Department closed at Antrim Area Hospital

Northern Health and Social Care Trust have issued a statement on Sunday afternoon, 13 November, after a Major Incident was declared at Antrim Area Hospital, effectively closing the Emergency Department to any new patients wishing to attend.

The Trust stated on social media shortly before 12:30am this morning that the Emergency Department at the hospital was at full capacity and told the public, "Do not attend in any circumstances".

This afternoon a spokesperson for the Northern Health & Social Care Trust said:

“We have warned for some time that it was inevitable that one or more hospitals could be forced into a situation where they had to close their Emergency Department for safety reasons due to the number of people in the department with high numbers needing to be admitted.

"On Saturday night, Antrim Area Hospital had a disproportionately high number of critically ill patients, a number of whom arrived in quick succession. A clinical decision was made by the Senior Emergency Department Consultant that the department could no longer operate safely and could not respond appropriately to any further critically ill patients who might have arrived. As such a Major Incident was declared.

"Temporary closure of the ED allowed the situation to be managed and controlled in a safe manner. This was a regrettable position to be in, but in the circumstances it was the only safe and appropriate response. The Trust is continuing to work closely with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and other Trusts to coordinate an appropriate response given regional pressures.

“The Antrim site currently has a high number of very ill patients who require admission into the hospital and therefore our priority today has to be patient discharge. We would appeal for the full co-operation of patients, families and carers in assisting us with discharging loved ones who are ready to go home, to help free up much needed beds and reduce the overall pressure on our service.

“People should definitely attend the ED if their condition is urgent or life threatening. Patients will always be seen in order of clinical priority, therefore those who attend with conditions which are not urgent will endure a long wait to be seen.

“We thank the public and our staff for their patience and understanding in these difficult circumstances.”


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