Monday 25 March 2019 02:14:34 PM

McGrath Expresses Concern at Operation Postponements at Ulster
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COLIN McGrath, Down District SDLP Councillor and the party’s local health spokesperson, has spoken out following news that approximately 30 routine operations a week are being postponed due to a shortage of beds in the Ulster Hospital.

He said: “I am disgusted but not at all shocked at today’s report which revealed 30 routine operations a week are being postponed at the Ulster Hospital due to a shortage of beds. We are being told that this is due to the ongoing pressure on the hospital’s A&E Department.

“I appreciate that the Norovirus outbreak, and that of the flu, has exerted additional pressure on the Healthcare sector, however, with all the recent cuts – this was inevitable. We are sitting with a state-of-the-art, purpose-built facility in Downpatrick which was designed to cope with such demands but has simply not been given such an opportunity.

Councillor Colin McGrath

“What about the patients who have waited many months, if not year’s, on their operations to then be advised that they have been postponed… but for how long?

“My thought are also with the staff… all of these individuals whether they are Doctors, Nurses or Auxiliary’s have pursued their careers as they feel it to be a vocation. However, to have to work in such pressurised and stressful situations is having an adverse affect on the health of many.

“The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust Trust must give consideration to the return of such vital services to the Downe Hospital immediately.”

In responding to the criticisms from Councillor McGrath, a South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust spokesperson said Councillor McGrath is welcome to visit the Ulster Hospital to meet with the management and clinical staff at any time, adding: “The Trust has stated publicly that the Ulster Hospital has a shortfall of 35 beds which has been acknowledged by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB).

“The number of patients requiring admission has substantially exceeded expectations and the Trust has taken the decision to reduce elective procedures, for a time limited period, to ensure emergency care is provided safely and to a high quality. The Trust fully appreciates the impact of this decision on individual patients and will continue to work closely with the HSCB to reduce pressure on the hospital and return to normal operating.

“The Downe Hospital provides excellent care to its local population and the number of patients requiring emergency care at the Downe has also been increasing in recent weeks. However, the Downe does not have the full range of acute services on site and therefore would not be capable of dealing with a substantial number of the additional patients who have been admitted to the Ulster Hospital. In addition, it has been clear for some time that there is no prospect of the full range of acute services being developed at the Downe.

“Where appropriate, patients are transferred to the Downe from the Ulster Hospital and in this respect the clinical network between the Ulster and Downe hospitals has worked very well. Our staff have worked tirelessly and as always are a credit to themselves and the Trust. Councillor McGrath’s support for staff is greatly appreciated.”