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Poots asks officials to check all A&Es for incidents

Health Minister Edwin Poots, MLA, at Altnagelvin Hospital with Gerard Guckian, chair, Western Trust and Elaine Way, Chief Executive, Western Trust.

Health Minister Edwin Poots, MLA, at Altnagelvin Hospital with Gerard Guckian, chair, Western Trust and Elaine Way, Chief Executive, Western Trust.

  • by Kevin Mullan
 

Health Minister Edwin Poots has asked officials to gather information on the number of people, if any, who died across Northern Ireland A&E Departments including Altnagelvin.

He also confirmed there have been 140 ‘Serious Adverse Incidents’ (SAIs) in the Western Trust over the past three years.

Last July the Sentinel reported how 19 suspected suicides and 12 unexpected deaths were amongst 44 SAIs recorded across the Trust in 2012/13.

But following revelations of deaths at Royal Victoria Hospital’s A&E, Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood has now asked the Health Minister whether any patients either came to harm, or died while waiting to be treated in Altnagelvin’s emergency department.

Mr Poots was unable to provide the information but stated: “In light of recent reports about SAIs in emergency departments, I have asked my officials to ascertain comparable data for hospitals across Northern Ireland and any available comparable data for other jurisdictions.”

“My Department will only be able to determine what information can be published without breaching patient confidentiality when that work has been completed,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Minister revealed the average number of beds across hospitals in the Western Trust decreased between 2009 and 2013.

At Altnagelvin the average decreased from 496.4 to 476.6. At Gransha the decrease was from 109 to 62; at Lakeview the decrease was from 52.2 to 24; and at the Waterside hospital (wards one to four) the decrease was from 78 to 66.

He said: “This change has been managed by more efficient use of beds through changing clinical practice, increasing use of day surgery, better anaesthetics, and improved community rehabilitation options. These developments in changing the patterns of hospital bed use have resulted in shorter stays in hospital.”

 

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