Craigavon Hospital suffered one of its “worst nights ever” with ambulances queuing outside the emergency department as patients waited more than eleven hours to be seen, according to one local councillor.
SDLP councillor Declan McAlinden travelled over to the hospital last night (Monday) and witnessed first hand what he described as a “nightmare”.
According to him, around 120 patients were still waiting to be seen at 11pm.
“I wasn’t that long in from a council meeting and was in bed when I got a call around 10.30pm last night,” said councillor McAlinden.
“I went straight over and what I saw, I couldn’t believe.
“There were nine ambulances, one behind the other, and patients getting wheeled in around the emergency department and waiting area.
“There were young girls with masks on, people in wheelchairs hooked up to breathing apparatuses, patients lying in beds, it was just a nightmare.”
He added: “I had spoken to a couple of patients who had been sitting there from 12 in the afternoon. This was 11pm at night.
“There was another elderly couple who had been there 11 hours and they hadn’t even been called for their X-rays at that time.
“They were hoping to be called within the next hour but they would have had to wait on the results after that. I reckon they were there until the early hours of this morning.
“People were there from as far afield as Pomeroy and Cookstown. It was definitely one of the worst night’s that hospital has experienced.
“It’s time MLAs took note and did something about this crisis. Staff are under ridiculous pressure but are doing a fantastic job considering.”
A spokesperson for the Southern Health Trust said: “Monday is always one of the busiest days of the week for Emergency Departments and last night was no exception for Craigavon Area Hospital emergency department.
“Attendances at Craigavon Area Hospital ED on Monday were just above average, and there were high numbers of sick patients requiring admission to hospital beds.
“72 ambulances arrived at Craigavon’s ED on Monday, which is not unexpected at this time of year.
“There was a ‘spike’ in activity in the ED in the early evening period and this made the ED busier for a time, which is quite normal.
“Some patients did experience lengthy waiting times because of the high demand for beds across the hospital and we apologise to them for having to wait longer.”