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Minister playing catch-up with emergency department problems – Maeve McLaughlin

10 February, 2014 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin said the Health Minister appears to be playing catch up when it comes to sorting out the problems with our emergency department care. Just weeks ago the minister said there was no crisis in the Emergency Departments.

The Foyle MLA and Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee said:

“Is the minister now saying there is a crisis in emergency care and that this reaches beyond the Belfast Trust? It is welcome that the minister has now placed a focus on emergency departments, he should have done this a lot earlier.

“The minister is playing catch up and must have been sleeping on the job as the College of Emergency Medicine report in March 2013 said that processes in the Belfast Trust were neither safe nor sustainable. Why was this not acted on then?

“There are major concerns that the findings from the visits by RQIA have been damning with problems about staffing levels, allegations of bullying and staff under intolerable pressure.

“The inspection found that there are not enough doctors and nurses to provide the appropriate levels of care. Recruitment and retention of staff is an issue but how then can the minister say in his statement that he expects to appoint additional medical and nursing staff quickly - why can this happen now and didn’t happen before?

“The minister has jumped from one problem to the next and really should be taking a pro-active grip of his department and ensure when there are problems identified they are dealt with and not left to fester and get worse.”

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