Patient waits 50 hours for bed

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THE Northern Trust, which includes the Antrim Area Hospital, has been slammed for making a patient wait 50 hours and 33 minute in Accident and Emergency before being given a bed.

The Trust came top in a list of hospital A&E units throughout the UK which recorded waiting times for patients and the occupancy rates of hospital beds.

The average waiting time for the Northern Trust area for the last financial year 2011 to 2012 was four hours and 26 minutes - but as figures, revealed by the Daily Mail, showed the longest recorded wait for a patient was more than two days.

In the Northern Trust area Accident and Emergency Services are provided in the Antrim Area Hospital and Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.

The Northern Trust website also lists Hollywell Hospital providing “a range of acute services”.

The figures come on the back of two-year campaign to “Save the Mid” after the Accident and Emergency services at the Mid Ulster Hospital were closed in May 2010.

Hugh McCloy, chairperson of the campaign, said he was “appalled” by the figures, and added they must be seen as a resulst of added pressure on the departments following the closure of the Mid Ulster Hospital.

He said: “For two years ‘Save The Mid’ has been repeatedly asking government to reinstate Acute services to Mid Ulster

as the are required in Mid Ulster for Mid Ulster residents but also to make safe other service in areas such

as Antrim and Coleraine.”

Mr McCloy said the only possible way to cut waiting times is to reverse decisions made to close health services.

“It is quite simple - capacity is full at Antrim. It was full before they shut the mid Ulster Hospital of acute services and now with a further loss of Thompson House more pressure will be put upon Antrim Area Hospital.”

The figures showed the occupancy rate of beds in the Northern Trust area to be 86.5 per cent.

Mr McCloy said: “Save The Mid will be represented in a series of public debates surrounding health in Mid Ulster. This scam that we are getting better services must end and accountability brought into effect. Three of the worst affected hospital trusts for waiting are in Northern Ireland. Either Trust Chiefs and the Minister step up or they should do the right thing and step down.”

Some hospitals in the UK did not provide information, either on the basis that they did not hold it or that it would cost too much to get the information.