ALTNAGELVIN Hospital has implemented a plan to cope with a rise in the number of patients attending its Emergency Department .
The Western Health Trust has introduced its “Full Capacity Protocol” non Thursday.
The plan aims to speed up patient assessment and treatment and allows additional hospital beds to be opened.
Earlier this week, the trust urged patients to avoid going to the ED or using the out-of=hours GPs after a spike in attendance over Christmas.
The Trust said patients at the hospital have been waiting longer to be seen because of an influx of people attending the ED.
A spokesperson said its acute services at Altnagelvin Hospital was “very busy throughout the day and into the evening on Thursday, December 28.”
“The trust invoked its Full Capacity Protocol at Altnagelvin Hospital to manage the increased demand there.
“The Full Capacity Protocol is put in place when the Emergency Department is at capacity and patients are waiting longer than we would like.”
The spokesperson said the “protocol allows us to escalate (patients) to wards i.e. put up additional beds within the hospital.”
“This ensures that we can move patients in a timely manner to more appropriate areas for their treatment and care,” the spokesperson added.
SDLP health spokesperson Mark H Durkan said it was vital people only attended the ED if it was absolutely necessary.
“Obviously the trust has found itself in the situation where they are filled to capacity and where they have had to take extraordinary measures.
“I am assured they are doing all they can to ensure patients are seen as quickly as possible,” he said.
On Wednesday the trust urged the public “to choose the right service” before attending the ED and said demand for services was higher over Christmas than in previous years.Tags: