Altnagelvin Hospital's Emergency Department to get new 50-seat waiting area

The Western Trust has announced a range of measures aimed at helping the A&E department to run more efficiently

Altnagelvin A&E

Altnagelvin Hospital's A&E Department very busy

A new expansion to Altnagelvin’s A&E department will create waiting room for fifty more people.

Derry has been hit hardest by the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, putting strain on vital services.

Concerns were raised recently about people having to queue outside the Emergency Department (ED) as the Derry hospital struggled to cope with the overwhelming demand.

The Western Trust then moved to build a temporary shelter to protect patients from the elements.

Altnagelvin's ED currently treats in the region of 70,000 patients per year.

With additional floor space it will enable the hospital to cope with ever growing demand in the city, allowing the ED to safely treat up to 100,000 patients on an annual basis.

The Trust has approved a capital project to expand Altnagelvin’s ED.

To date phases one and two have been completed which were external work to create space for the new extension.

Phase three is underway and is viewed as a ‘critical phase’ to provide a new 50 seater waiting area and a new ‘minors unit’ – normally an area where minor injuries, wounds, musculoskeletal injuries or fractures are likely to be cared for as well as some minor illness.

Speaking at a Western Trust Board meeting today, Mrs Teresa Molloy, Director of Performance and Service Improvement, said this will be completed on December 22, 2020.

A further phase will be completed by end of March 2021, she explained, to provide more clinical space, storage and a dedicated ambulance drop off zone.

Mrs Molloy added: “The Trust is also engaged in the regional No More Silos Network to develop a range of measures and rapid access services to ensure communities can receive timely and appropriate care while also protecting emergency department services.

“This will include the creation of additional assessment trolley capacity within ambulatory care to support management of the ‘take’ and direct GP admissions.

“The introduction of specialty medical input to the ambulatory care unit to enable same day emergency assessment of medical patients avoiding the need for ED attendance or admission.”

She continued: “Development of a telephone assessment service which will triage unscheduled patients to the most appropriate pathway or service.

“Enhancement of support to care homes through Trust Support Teams and development of anticipatory care plans which describe the resident’s care needs and wishes

“And enhancement of acute care at home and intermediate care models and development of a frailty model.”

Emergency Department attendances decreased across all three Western Trust sites during September 2020 when compared to August 2020, largely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During September 2020, Altnagelvin attendances were 13 per cent below September 2019, South West Acute attendances were 6 per cent below September 2019 and Omagh attendances were 25 per cent below September 2019.

In the first 2 weeks of October, attendances fell further, down by 22% in comparison to the same period last year.

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