Royal A&E unit calls in extra staff

The Royal Hospital in Belfast
The Royal Hospital in Belfast
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Extra staff were brought in to support the Royal Victoria Hospital’s A&E unit yesterday as it was reported people had been waiting for treatment since Sunday night.

It was reported yesterday that over 100 people were waiting in A&E and about 30 people were on trolleys.

A major incident was declared at the hospital’s A&E unit last month due to overburdened staff and facilities.

Chair of the health committee Maeve McLaughlin said last night: “Only last month a major incident was called in the RVH. We now have staff having to initiate “escalation measures”, highlighting once again the pressure being placed on staff and resources and it is damaging public confidence.

“When people hear of a major incident or escalation measures, they automatically think of a serious road crash or a viral outbreak, for example.

“They do not expect the incident to be called for a backlog of bed waits or patients having to wait excessive times for treatment.”

The review that the health minister has announced must be fast-tracked, she said.

“In the interim, he must introduce measures to ensure we do not have a major incident called again in the coming weeks.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said the minister was being kept up-to-date.

A Belfast Health Trust spokeswoman said there had been pressure on A&E departments throughout Northern Ireland in the previous 24 hours.

“We have no plans to call a major incident, however we have put several escalation measures in place including opening more beds throughout the trust and calling in extra staff,” she said.

“We are monitoring the situation very closely on an almost hourly basis and hope to see an improvement in the next few hours.”