Northern Ireland

Broken bones 'up 50%' in the NW after icy weather

The number of people suffering broken bones has risen by 50% during the icy weather, according to initial figures from Altnagelvin hospital's A&E department.

About 60 people attended the hospital on Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 November because of falls.

Thirty-eight of them were treated for fractures, twice the usual average.

Consultant Alan McKinney said during winter A&E was all about "trips, slips, falls and fractures".

"The whole pattern of our work has changed.

"There are fewer assaults because there are fewer people standing around on the street, but there has been an increase in the number of people with chesty coughs, colds, infections and heart failures."

But he warned people not to walk on road to avoid icy footpaths.

"This is an alarming idea, that people expect cars to drive round them or brake and stop to avoid them, which simply won't be the case on icy roads.

"The first thing you need to do is arm yourself with decent sensible footwear that will allow you to walk on the footpaths where you should stay."

The roads minister Conor Murphy is to meet the Northern Ireland Local Government Association on Monday to discuss who is responsible for treating footpaths.