McGlone challenges Health Minister over failing A&E targets

MID ULSTER MLA Patsy McGlone has challenged the Health Minister after it was revealed that all five Northern Ireland health trusts have breached A&E waiting time targets.

Over 10,000 breaches of the 12 hour target were recorded, according to the BBC- which is nearly 3,000 more than the previous year.

They also reported a two per cent decrease in patients treated, discharged or admitted within four hours of arrival in A&E, which is 15% less than the 95% target.

The Northern Trust is reported to have performed particularly poorly. The news comes as the future of Causeway Hospital’s Accident and Emergency is being considered as part of a major review of health and social care services and the Antrim Hospital’s patient care has been highly criticised in two independent reports.

The statistics leaked to the media earlier this week are due to be made public at a meeting of the Health and Social Care Board today.

Commenting on the latest figures, Mr McGlone said: “It seems clear that the problems we’ve seen at Antrim Area Hospital are replicated across all A&E departments.

“The morale of frontline staff has been allowed to plummet as they struggle to cope with a lack of resources. Senior management are also failing to properly marshal what resources they do have.

The question now is what is the Health Minister going to do about it? Whatever he planned to do last year has either not been done or has failed to work.

“I have submitted a priority Assembly question to the Minister in an attempt to find out what action is being taken to address the failure by local hospitals to meet their A&E waiting time targets.

“The public need to see accountability on this issue if they are to retain trust in our health service.”

Save the Mid campaigner Hugh McCloy called for Sean Donaghy to step down as Northern Trust head. He said the pressures on Antrim Hospital were “a direct consequence of the removal of services at the Mid Ulster Hospital site”.

He called for services such as daytime A&E, minor injury unit and high dependency unit to recommence at the Mid Ulster Hospital to relieve the increasing burden on other hospitals.