Ambulances had to be diverted from Craigavon during the evening of January 6 as the Southern Trust’s escalation procedure swung into operation.
Mr O’Dowd met Trust chief executive Mairead McAlinden and senior staff to discuss the spike in patient numbers. He said: “It is crucially important that attempts are made to establish facts in relation to such reports. It is not helpful to feed the rumour-mill, or create a public fear in relation to health care services.”
He acknowledged there was a unexpected surge in patient numbers which led to the hospital implementing emergency procedures. However he was reassured by senior management. “It is clear that there was an unexpected and unpredictable surge in patient numbers visiting the Emergency Department, which did lead to a backlog. However, it is also clear the hospital staff implemented their appropriate emergency procedures for such occurrences and should be commended for how they did so,” he said.
“Sincere thanks must go to hospital staff for the efforts they made on Monday, January 6 and for the ongoing provision of health care for citizens.”