Antrim Hospital ED seeing 300+ patients daily ‘becoming normal’

More than 8,000 patients attended the emergency department (ED) at Antrim Hospital in July, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust board has been told.
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There were 8,164 patients in attendance at ED in July compared to 7,646 in July 2019 and 4,340 at Causeway Hospital this July.

Just over half - 4,547 - were seen within four hours at Antrim Hospital and 2,640 at Causeway Hospital.

The number of patients who had to wait 12 hours has almost trebled from 274 in July 2019 to 817 in July 2021.

Antrim Area Hospital Emergency Department.   
Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEyeAntrim Area Hospital Emergency Department.   
Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Antrim Area Hospital Emergency Department. Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEye

There was a similar occurrence at Causeway Hospital when 393 had to wait 12 hours last month compared to 183 in July 2019.

The Trust’s Interim Director of Medicine and Emergency Medicine Audrey Harris told the meeting that 300-plus patients in the waiting room is “becoming normal” each day at Antrim Hospital which she described as “a very challenging situation”.

“Causeway and Antrim Emergency Departments were not commissioned for the numbers we are seeing now.”

She noted that Covid patients have to be separated from non-Covid patients.

“There is an increasing number of Covid attendances at the front door. We are seeing younger people presenting at the front door quite sick. That all gives us challenges in ED with isolation.”

At the same meeting, the Trust’s Director of Finance and Estates Owen Harkin reported that the Northern Trust is spending £2m a month on PPE, a cost which he is envisaging for “quite some time”.

by Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter