SDLP Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has called on the Department of Health to implement greater cooperation between the North’s health trusts to deal with current pressures.
Mr McGlone was speaking after a visit to Antrim Area Hospital on Monday where he met with the Northern Trust’s Chief Executive Jennifer Welsh, Director of Operations Wendy Magowan and staff.
It comes after a major incident was declared at the weekend and the public was told to stay away from Antrim Area Hospital.
Mid Ulster MLA Mr McGlone said:
“The situation at Antrim Area Hospital over the weekend caused alarm in communities right across this area with the hospital unable to accept any more patients due to the huge numbers requiring treatment. Following a very difficult weekend for staff, I felt it was important to express our support and thanks for their efforts, at a time when our health service is falling apart.
“The Chief Executive made clear to me the stark situation facing hospitals not only in the Northern Trust area, but right across the North due to the failure to implement much needed reforms and recruit and retain the necessary numbers of staff. To have a hospital in the position where they make the difficult decision to tell patients to stay away should be a stark warning about just how serious the situation is.
“If we don’t make fundamental changes to the way our health service operates then we are going to see further incidents like this, with patients forced to wait longer and longer for treatment and staff working under incredible pressure. To implement real change we need political leadership and the DUP’s boycott of our institutions is letting our health service down. In the short-term I would urge the Department of Health to examine ways our health trusts can work together and support each other in the face of the current pressures.”