Emergency departments across Northern Ireland are currently experiencing a high level of pressure, according to the Health and Social Care Board (HSC).
Media reports yesterday suggested that patients at the Emergency Department (ED) at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine were experiencing a three hour wait.
A spokesperson for the Northern Trust said: “Our objective is always to provide the best care and treatment that we can to patients but it is vitally important that Emergency Department resources are focused on the sickest and most critically ill patients.
“Traditionally, urgent and emergency cases rise during the winter with hospitals, GPs and community nursing teams all experiencing increased workloads. However there is a range of healthcare services available to help people find the right expert care to meet their needs. Picking the service most appropriate to their symptoms will help to ensure that they receive the right treatment in the right place.
“Patients who do present at Emergency Departments will always be dealt with in order of clinical priority so more acutely ill patients will be seen first. Inevitably, this can impact on waiting times, particularly when the numbers presenting are high.
“Whilst our Emergency Department at Causeway Hospital remains busy, and reflects a similar pattern with other acute hospitals throughout the country, the situation is manageable and is kept under continuous review.
“Services and suggested pathways for people are as follows:
Coughs and colds – visit your pharmacist
Medical complaints and/or pain – contact your GP
Cuts/wounds, limb injuries, bites, burns/scalds, eye injuries and chemical splashes – Minor Injury Units in Antrim Area and Mid-Ulster Hospitals (available Mon-Fri, 9.00am – 5.00pm, excluding public holidays)
Out of hours – Dalriada Urgent Care, telephone 028 2566 3500 (available weekdays from 6.00pm to 8.00am.
For life threatening emergencies such as stroke, heart attack and/or severe bleeding that can’t be stopped – visit your Emergency Department or call 999.”