Hospital emergency departments ‘under extreme pressure’

Lagan Valley Hospital.
Lagan Valley Hospital.

The emergency departments at several local hospitals are “under extreme pressure”, according to the South Eastern Health Trust.

On Tuesday afternoon the Trust tweeted that A&E services at the Ulster, Downe and Lagan Valley Hospitals are all under pressure and that “patients may have to wait.”

A spokesperson for the Trust said it is not uncommon to see a surge in patient numbers following a Bank Holiday.

“We have an increasing elderly population so the majority of the people in our EDs at the moment are elderly people with often more than one complex condition, and often also an underlying condition such as cancer or cardiac problem. These are very sick people who require complex treatment and admission to hospital for more than the average stay, which in turns means fewer beds available,” she said.

“In addition, we always see a surge in patients following a Bank Holiday and there is still a bit of Norovirus about.”

The spokesperson said that while people aren’t being asked to stay away from emergency departments, they are being urged to “consider whether the other options available are suitable for their particular illness, as they may be able to access much speedier treatment.”

The South Eastern Trust has stressed that “all hospitals across Northern Ireland are experiencing the same pressures.”