SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan has written to Chief Executive of the Western Health and Social Care Trust, Neil Guckian urging the restoration of family or relative rooms at Altnagelvin’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU.)
He said providing a safe space for family members of critically ill patients is a necessity.
It is understood that designated areas for the families of ICU patients were reorganised to expand the Unit’s clinical space in response to the COVID pandemic.
Said the Foyle MLA: “Having a loved one admitted to ICU is a traumatic experience in itself and is a situation most people will be spared from having to endure.
“However, for families who find themselves in such a harrowing position, a designated waiting area where they can come together separate from the chaos of a hospital setting is vital.
“In response to the COVID pandemic, the ICU at Altnagelvin was required to expand its clinical footprint to meet growing need.
“That meant expanding the unit into the designated family rooms and while I appreciate that the health service remains under considerable pressures, efforts are needed to relocate and secure alternative space for family rooms.
“Sadly, I heard from one constituent who was forced to sit in the hallway outside of ICU awaiting news of her seriously ill partner.
“Both she and her family felt exposed at such a raw and emotional time.
“What should’ve been a private moment shared among family was broadcast to other patients and staff navigating the busy corridor.
“Families of critically ill patients should be catered for; relative rooms should be a basic requirement providing a degree of privacy where people can talk and comfort one another while the await news on their loved one’s condition.
“I will continue to liaise with the Trust to ensure this provision is reinstated as a matter of urgency.”