Staff have raised concerns over what has been described as “very dangerous” working conditions in Craigavon Area Hospital this evening (Monday).
Councillor Thomas Larkham said he has been contacted by both patients and staff expressing serious concern about conditions inside the hospital.
The SDLP representative said he is being told that there are additional patients being put onto wards without the staff cover.
“This could seriously compromise patient care and making the working environment very dangerous,” said councillor Larkham.
“Trust Senior Management have questions to answer regarding putting both patients and staff at risk.”
One patient from Banbridge said he was referred to the Hospital by his local GP only to turn up and find there were no seats to sit on, with a nine hour wait on his hands.
In the end he decided to go home.
Another said they visited on Sunday night only for the hospital to be “jammed to the doors” with older people standing and leaning on walls.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Southern Trust this evening told Armagh I there are currently 116 people in the Emergency Department with a full compliment of staff.
A Trust spokesperson said: “It is unacceptable and regrettable that many people are having to wait longer to be treated
in our Emergency Departments or to be admitted to our hospitals at this time and we apologise for this.
“Emergency Departments across Northern Ireland are continuing to experience serious pressures. These pressures are impacting not only emergency departments but on multiple services across the hospital and the wider health and social care system – transformation and additional funding is now required to improve the system.
“The UK-wide shortage of medical and nursing staff (and other staff) combined with the growing demand for hospital beds and an ageing population is putting significant strain on existing services, despite our ongoing efforts to increase staff numbers.
“Craigavon Area Hospital was built nearly 50 years ago and has significantly less capacity to treat patients than newer-build hospitals. Capital investment is needed to provide our staff with the modern facilities to better enable them to do their job for the benefit of all our patients.
“Our staff are continuing to work tirelessly to ensure that patients receive the care they need as quickly and safely as possible. There is a continued focus on supporting patients to return home or to a community setting as quickly as possible when their hospital treatment has been completed.
“To help ensure limited services are used to best effect it is important people understand how they should seek help. If you are seriously ill or injured, then the Emergency Department is the place to go. If you attend an ED, you will be assessed – triaged – as quickly as possible, with the most urgent medical cases given the greatest priority. If you
are not assessed as urgent you may have to wait for a lengthy period.
“If you do not need emergency care, a range of alternative services is available. These include using the online A-Z symptom checker , seeking advice from a pharmacist, going to a Minor Injury Unit, or contacting a GP or the GP Out of Hours services – if your medical condition can’t wait until the GP surgery reopens.”
The public can access waiting time information at all EDs and Minor Injury Units across the region by logging onto www.nidirect.gov.uk/emergency-department-waiting-times . This NI Direct webpage is updated hourly.