New minister must tackle casualty waiting times

The new health minister must move to ensure accident and emergency waiting time targets can be met at Altnagelvin Hospital, SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood has said.

Mr Eastwood made the comment after it was revealed that in the first three months of 2015 almost a third of all patients who presented to the city's casualty department waited more than 4 hours to be seen.

In March 67% of all patients were seen within the four hour target time frame set by Department of Health. The Department of Health targets dictate that 95% of all patients should be treated, admitted or discharged within four hours and that no patient should wait longer than 12 hours in casualty departments.

“The latest figures show the impact on patient care of the failure to provide adequate resources at Altnagelvin hospital.

“These targets are in place to ensure that those in need of urgent care do not suffer unnecessarily and it is vital that they are met not just sometimes but every time. It is shocking that a third of all people who presented at casualty in Derry in January, February and March were not treated admitted or discharged within four hours and that 14 patients waited longer than 12 hours to be seen.

“Hard working casualty staff at Altnagelvin do a tremendous job in the most stressful of circumstances and it is imperative that they are properly resourced to meet the care needs of all patients.

“I would urged the new health minister to give this issue the urgent attention it deserves. The minister must ensure that spending cuts and budgeting blunders do not further impact on A and E and other front line health services in Derry. The focus on patient care cannot be allowed to falter as a result of under-investment,” Mr Eastwood added.


Health cuts / accident and emergency / waiting times / NHS