Social Democratic and Labour Party Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath MLA has warned that patients seeking emergency treatment across the North are experiencing the collapse of critical healthcare services as some are forced to wait 10 hours in ambulances and others more than 24 hours in hospital chairs.
The Stormont Health Committee member described the situation as ‘code red’ for health services and said that the pressure on frontline staff cannot be sustained.
Colin McGrath MLA said:
“The picture in Emergency Departments across the North is absolutely bleak. Despite the heroic efforts of frontline staff working themselves to the point of exhaustion to keep patients safe and well, what we are experiencing is the collapse of critical healthcare services. We have a duty to be honest with people, this is code red for our health service.
“When you have patients sitting in an ambulance outside a hospital for ten hours, that means that they effectively cannot access the health service. People sitting in hospital chairs for more than 24 hours cannot access the health service. We have passed the point of warning that emergency departments could become overwhelmed, the testimony from doctors, nurses and other hospital staff is clearly telling us that they are overwhelmed.
“The modelling data presented to the Executive suggests that the situation could deteriorate further by mid-December. We cannot allow that to happen.
“I am urging people to think carefully about how they access health services in the weeks ahead. Do not attend an emergency department unless you are experiencing a medical emergency. If you are offered a community bed outside of hospital please take it. And most importantly, if you have not yet received a Covid-19 vaccine or a booster that you’re eligible for, we need you to do it now. Health Service staff are doing all they can for us, it is long beyond time that every one of us stood up for them. If we don’t, people will get sicker and others will die unnecessarily. This is a moment for political, civic and personal leadership.”