Western Trust apologises over hospital admission delays

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The Western Trust

The chief executive of the Western Health Trust has apologised for delays admitting patients to hospitals.

More than 60 people were waiting in trust emergency departments on Tuesday as there were no beds in Altnagelvin Hospital or South West Acute Hospital.

Neil Guickan told a trust board meeting on Thursday that the pressure on all services was unprecedented.

"Across a wide range of services we are struggling to maintain activity due to workforce shortages," he said.

"I want to firstly apologise to all patients and clients who have experienced delays in service recently, this is not the standard we would wish to deliver."

Image source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
Patients, many of whom were elderly, waited for hours in an emergency room on Halloween night at Altnagelvin Hospital

On Tuesday, a doctor at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry also apologised for the "appalling service" they said they had to provide over the Halloween weekend.

Dr Paul Baylis, an emergency department consultant, said the department was "under big pressure" with "no extra capacity to cope".

The senior doctor said that of the people waiting to be seen by staff, many were elderly, with one man, who was over 80, having to sit on a chair overnight.

Emergency departments across Northern Ireland reported extremely high numbers of patients over the weekend.

One person had to wait 44 hours in an emergency department to be admitted to the Ulster Hospital.

The South Eastern Health Trust confirmed that another patient spent 12 hours in an ambulance before admission.