SDLP seeks assurances from Southern Trust over pressures on Daisy Hill ED

January 14, 2019

Newry and Armagh SDLP MLA Justin McNulty says his party has written to the Southern Trust seeking an immediate review of Emergency Provision at Daisy Hill Hospital after reports that its Accident and Emergency Department ‘was bursting at the seams’ for a period last week.

Mr McNulty says the SDLP is seeking assurances from the Trust that the necessary resources will be made available over the coming weeks to deal with the winter pressures.

He said: “Patients and their families have reported to us that the Emergency Department has come under extreme pressure in recent days with one family member telling me that the place resembled a war zone on Thursday night (10th January).

“Staff are being asked to go way beyond the call of duty and they have done so whole-heartedly with incredible commitment and compassion.  We were told by the Trust before Christmas that measures were in place to avoid such a situation arising. I have written on behalf of the SDLP seeking a review of Emergency Provision at Daisy Hill and assurances that these pressures will be resourced properly.”

Newry SDLP Councillor Michael Savage was in the Emergency Department on Thursday evening with an ill family member and said he was angered by the pressures nursing staff and doctors were put under.

Mr Savage said: “I cannot praise the staff at Daisy Hill enough. The ED Team dealt with a hugely difficult challenge with a sense of calm and professionalism, always putting the needs of the patients first. However, they were forced to grade patients on how sick they were and as a result some patients, including young children were left waiting for hours before they received the treatment they needed.

“The Department simply ran out of space. There were not enough trollies and treatment areas to cope with the huge volume of patients, who in some cases were very sick and agitated. The staff were overwhelmed with the sheer volume of people needing treatment and had to deal with a wide range of issues from cardiac arrest and emergencies to vulnerable people who had presented with flu and winter vomiting symptoms. 

“I saw some elderly patients having to be put on drips as they sat in chairs such was the shortage of bed space. I really felt for the staff trying to cope in such circumstances and it was not fair to put them in that position. I have no doubt they got to see all the patients and they were treated such is the calibre and commitment of the staff at Daisy Hill. It is clear that in recent days the Emergency Department was bursting at the seams.

“Whatever eventuality the Trust management had been planning for, it was obvious to me that it fell well short and as a result the staff in ED bore the brunt of that, not to mention the patients, many of whom had to endure long waits.

“Management need to carry out an immediate review of Emergency Provision before the real cold spell kicks in and further pressures mount on the service, to ensure that the situation doesn’t go from bad to worse.”