Eighty-two patients currently waiting in casualty at Antrim Hospital

Editorial image.
Editorial image.

Eighty-two patients are currently waiting in the emergency department at Antrim Area Hospital.

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust has reported that the department is “extremely busy” and that 22 of these “very sick people are being cared for in the ED while waiting for a bed to become available in a ward”.

The Trust is advising people to only come to the ED if their condition is “urgent or life-threatening and needs to be treated immediately”.

A spokesperson said: “If you are unsure, your GP surgery or the GP out-of-hours service is always available for advice about health conditions.

“Where appropriate, they can also refer patients with non urgent conditions to our Direct Assessment Unit (DAU). Remember, a pharmacist can also give advice and treat minor ailments.

“You could also use the NI Direct Symptom Checker www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/health-conditions-a-z

“Every day people continue to come to the ED who should have used other health services.

“Patients are always seen in order of clinical priority, so people who shouldn’t be there will face a very long wait. We never want to put people off that need urgent care, we just want everyone to think carefully and choose the best health service for their condition.

“A big well done to our staff across the hospital and in the community who continue to work hard to provide excellent care despite the challenges.

“Thank you to the public for their ongoing support.”