Altnagelvin Hospital Emergency Department

Members' Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:00 pm on 10 June 2024.

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Photo of Pádraig Delargy Pádraig Delargy Sinn Féin 12:00, 10 June 2024

I rise to talk about the emergency department at Altnagelvin Hospital. I welcome the opening of the minor injuries unit at Altnagelvin, which has helped to alleviate some of the pressures. In only a few weeks, the unit has seen over 2,000 patients, which has made a critical difference, but, until there is a new emergency department at Altnagelvin, the hospital will never be able to cope with the huge number of admissions. I was there recently not as an MLA but as a close relative of someone in the emergency department. I saw at first hand the pressure that the nurses, doctors, porters, cleaners, admin staff and, indeed, the whole team are under in that department. There is simply not enough space, so myriad people with complex medical conditions are there, waiting for treatment in a confined space that is totally inappropriate for their emergency medical needs.

No one chooses or plans to be in an emergency department. If we look at the issue simply by examining the critical mass of people in Derry, we will never solve the problem. We need to look at the issue across the entire trust; indeed, across the entire north-west. We have seen the breakthroughs that we can make in people's care and access when we have things like the North West Cancer Centre, which treats people on the basis of their localised need. In order to get a proper localised service that is fit for purpose and allows quick and easy access for all our patients, we need to look at all-Ireland solutions and treat our regions properly. I implore the Health Minister to look at the business case that will come from the trust. I implore all local representatives to get behind that and ensure that we have access to an accident and emergency service at Altnagelvin that is fit for purpose.