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Southern Trust expecting ‘difficult and challenging’ period this winter

Hospital waiting room

Winter is fast approaching and the Southern Trust is asking for the public’s co-operation during what is expected to be a difficult and challenging period for local health and social care services.

Trust Medical Director, Dr Richard Wright explains why this winter is expected to be particularly challenging: “We have one of the fastest growing populations in Northern Ireland (particularly older people and children) and the number of people coming to our Emergency Departments during the winter months is increasing.

“There has been a sharp rise in recent years in the number of patients who need admitted to hospital at winter with complex health issues associated with an ageing population.”

Dr Wright added: “Higher levels of Flu and vomiting and diarrhoea are more likely in winter which increases pressure for hospital beds and impacts on staffing levels.

“Recruiting staff is increasingly challenging and despite our best efforts, we expect this to be an issue over the winter period as it will have an impact on the services we are able to provide.”

5 ways you can help this winter 

Dr Wright continued: “Higher levels of Flu and vomiting and diarrhoea are more likely in winter which increases pressure for hospital beds and impacts on staffing levels.

“Recruiting staff is increasingly challenging and despite our best efforts, we expect this to be an issue over the winter period as it will have an impact on the services we are able to provide.”

1. The Emergency Department (ED) is only for people who are seriously ill or injured and need to be immediately treated – Don’t come to ED unless it is an emergency.

2. If it’s a minor ailment – use South Tyrone Hospital Minor Injury Unit (waiting times are much shorter than The Emergency Department!)

3. GP Out of Hours is for serious urgent problems – if it’s not serious urgent, you should wait until your own GP surgery reopens

4. Please take relatives/friends home as soon as possible from hospital after they have been discharged – so the bed can be used by the next patient who needs it.

5. Don’t come to any of our hospitals/facilities if you (or anybody else in your house) have cold/flu, vomiting, diarrhoea and infections.

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