Emergency department waiting times are symptom of health service in crisis-Durkan 

The SDLP health spokesperson said things are at 'breaking point'

Altnagelvin A&E

A&E is at breaking point says Durkan.

A Foyle MLA has said escalating waiting times in emergency departments across the North are yet another symptom of a health service in crisis.

Mark H Durkan MLA was responding to a statement from the Health and Social Care Board who said that healthcare workers were working under “extreme pressure” last week, to try to provide care for increasing numbers of children and older people attending and needing to be admitted.  

It comes after Derry Now revealed this week that people were waiting over 8 hours to be seen at Altnagelvin Hospital's emergency department.

The Foyle MLA said: “This is yet another reminder, if it were ever needed, of how badly our health service needs transformation and investment.

“Our health care workers across the North are working under extreme pressure and are at breaking point. These escalating waiting times and the numbers of patients waiting are in the context of looming industrial action, where health workers are striking for pay justice.

“The inability to get people out of the hospital and into their homes is also contributing to these delays and any future Health Minister must consider care packages as part of the discharge process. 

"These figures are also a result of increasing pressure in primary care and people being unable to get a timely appointment at their GPs surgery.

Mr Durkan added: “These shocking figures must act as a wakeup call for political leaders. Stretch yourselves and let’s get back to work to sort this crisis out.”

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