Flatline... is the state of our NHS critical?
Also.. three lifeguards to stand trial over offences relating to Armagh man’s death at Orchard Leisure Centre
Enormous waiting lists, staff shortages and strikes, not to mention the Covid pandemic, budget cuts and the fact that we are an ageing population - is it any wonder our NHS is under greater pressure than ever before?
Back in February the Department for Health said there was no money for pay rises in the NI health service and that pay rises could only be afforded if there was additional government funding, or cuts to services.
Over the weekend the Southern Health and Social Care Trust once again put out a number of calls for staff whilst highlighting the pressures faced in Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals. This call is becoming an all too common occurrence.
A spokesperson for the Trust stated: “Our hospitals are under extreme pressure this morning with significant numbers of very sick patients waiting on beds. Staff are doing their very best in very difficult circumstances”.
Undertones of desperation to stem the flow of patients to Emergency departments, perhaps, but also a critical call for available staff.
Again last night (Monday) the message advising “our hospitals are still exceptionally busy this evening. Anyone attending our Emergency Departments with less urgent symptoms will have a long wait”
It’s no secret that the health service is struggling to recruit and retain staff. Currently the HSCNI website lists 54 recruitment listings, many with multiple vacancies – some of them marked “rolling ad”.
So what are the underlying problems in our health service? The NHS is a very large and complex system, with numerous care provisions and – broadly speaking – the state of the NHS is worse than it was pre-pandemic.
On Saturday, Armagh I spoke to the niece of a 93-year-old Co Armagh woman, who was forced to wait almost 12 hours for an ambulance to arrive after suffering a severe fall in a local nursing home.
This story generated a lot of public reaction with one reader commenting on his own experience, while in for heart surgery stating “it’s like a 3rd world country”. Another recounted spending 24 hours sitting in A&E, “I watched the staff the whole time, they where truly exhausted and still pleasantly patiently dedicated efficient staff ".
Even if the staff were there, do we have all the other provisions needed to resuscitate our health service? Last week we saw a devastating blow dealt as it was announced that 999 call handlers based in Portadown are to be faced with the relocation of their centre from Portadown to Belfast.
It’s not all about the fiscal input into the system but how well it is processed - input may not immediately translate to the treatment of patients. Hospital beds and home care packages for example – the transfer of care from hospital to community care packages. This means that when the resources aren’t there to offer this service the situation worsens all round, as patients can’t leave medical care – as Dr Maria O’Kane (Southern Trust’s CEO) explained to us last year.
And then there is the view that this is exactly what the government had/has intended to do. Break it down and sell it off in parts….privatisation.
So, the diagnosis? We have a very tired NHS work force, impacted by the same stresses as everyone in the community, a system struggling to keep up with demand with growing waiting lists and Emergency Departments simply not able to cope.
This week a meeting – open to all – chaired by Dr. Conor Patterson, Chair of Daisy Hill Future Group will provide an opportunity for the Trust to respond to public concerns about services at Daisy Hill Hospital and to publicly consult with local people about the relocation of emergency general surgery to the Craigavon Hospital site. Details of this meeting can be found here.
Three lifeguards to stand trial over offences relating to Armagh man’s death at Orchard Leisure Centre
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An Armagh man who threatened to stab his mother in the neck with a fork has been sentenced to five months in custody.
‘Defective legislation’ leaves judge no option but to release bail breaching teenage girl
An historic County Armagh primary school building is to be extended with plans for a major investment and expansion on the cards.
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Tributes have been paid following the passing of Sr Nora Smyth, who was part of the very fabric of Armagh and had an association with St Catherine’s College which spanned an incredible 74 years.
Scaffolding goes up as one of Lurgan’s oldest buildings to be lovingly restored
Plans lodged for new multi-million pound Lurgan factory creating around 50 jobs
A man who headbutted his partner and pinned her against a wall has been sentenced to an enhanced combination order of probation and community service.
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Bring back the students! How could Armagh be best served going forward?
I think we should all think before we go to a&e alot of things a pharmacy can help with.
I think of the millions of pounds sent by the government to help people in need in other countries should put more money into our N.H.S and help people here in our own country.