As emergency departments across the north warn of possible closures due to extreme pressures it is time for the health committee to take action, invest in our NHS and implement a strategy that will ensure the best outcomes possible for patients and staff, according to the Workers’ Party.

Gemma Weir, Workers’ Party representative of Castle DEA, said:
“We are only in the early stages of winter pressures and already medical directors are warning us that emergency departments are at risk of closure due to extreme pressures. The closure of any emergency department will result in the redirection of patients to alternative emergency departments who are already at capacity and extreme pressure. How is this going to help patients or staff?”

“We have had reports this week that one patient waited 44 hours in the emergency department before admission while another spent 12 hours waiting in an ambulance. This is simply not acceptable for patients and the level of pressure we are putting on our healthcare workers is just not sustainable.”

“What we are seeing in the emergency department is only a symptom of the very serious problems in the wider healthcare setting. We have growing waiting lists, increases in mental health disorders and cancer diagnosis. We have to act now in order to prevent a crisis that spirals out of control across the whole system.”

“We need strong leadership from the health minister and the health committee. Up to now we haven’t seen this. We require, urgently, a strategy that is fit for purpose on how we are going to deal with the current crisis in health and we require a joined up approach across all disciplines including public health on signposting patients to alternatives to the emergency department showing the importance of vaccination and using our pharmacists, GPs and community care effectively. Without this we can’t even begin to relieve some of the pressures on our healthcare system and staff.”