Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson, Roy Beggs MLA, has warned that the Northern Ireland health service is lurching towards a major winter pressures crisis. The latest publication of the emergency care waiting times has revealed that the situation across emergency departments has continued to deteriorate.
Roy Beggs said:
“Whilst the target is to treat or admit 95% of attendees within 4 hours, only 69.4% of patients in September were seen within that time.
“That’s obviously not acceptable but what makes it frightening is that the summer/early autumn months are generally considered to be quietest time of year for the local health service. If things are already so bad now, I dread to think what the situation will be in December and January.
“We are quite possibly only one major outbreak of flu away from the entire local health service grinding to a halt. I have spoken to medical professionals and there are indications that this year’s strain of flu may be more virulent than in previous years. Hospitals across the UK have already been placed on high alert after major flu outbreaks in Australia and New Zealand.
“It is often said that how our emergency departments are performing is a barometer for the wider state of the health service. These continually worsening waiting times would suggest that Northern Ireland may well soon be facing its most difficult winter pressures crisis ever.”