Health Minister confirms that plans are being discussed to extend Altnagelvin Hospital's accident and emergency department

A&E unit continues to be under great strain


The Health Minister has confirmed that plans are being discussed to extend Altnagelvin Hospital's accident and emergency department.

The local A&E department is regularly put under strain as a result of the number of patients attending for treatment.

There have been calls for many years for the department to be increased in size to cope with the demand.

In a response to a question asked by Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan during Assembly Question Time, Health Minister Robin Swann said the Western Trust are currently working on a business case to extend and improve the current ED provision.

Mr Durkan welcomed the news.

“The colossal pressures faced by our emergency departments and their lengthy waiting times, are all too apparent.

“Nowhere is the impact of those difficulties felt more so than the Western Trust.

“We have more people attending emergency departments - waiting longer and longer for treatment.

“Targets are practically non-existent at present, the pressures on the system are so severe that they’re currently unachievable.

“Every quarterly report we are presented with worsening first-response and emergency care waiting times.

”In the last quarter, thousands of patients waited over 12 hours in A&E to be seen and the gargantuan strain on the ambulance service particularly in the North West has been well documented.

“Our heroic health workers have been incredible in the delivery of care during these extremely challenging circumstances.

“We need to deliver a service fit for purpose and that begins with delivery for first response and emergency healthcare.”

Mr Durkan added: “I am glad that the Minister has witnessed first-hand the considerable burden currently plaguing the emergency department at Altnagelvin and the urgent need for improved provision.

“I am hopeful that the Executive will support the financial bid for this project.

“Our hospitals, their departments and their staff must be properly resourced to ensure the delivery of effective healthcare.”

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