The ever present problems at Antrim A&E since 2010 see no sign of letting up despite the building and opening of a new A&E at Antrim Area Hospital that according to the Northern Health Trust and Health Minister Edwin Poot's could treat 90,000 patients a year.
These issues have cost patients their lives, it is time now for a full public inquiry before more member's of the public become another statistical victims of Government Health reforms
Since Jan 2014 Antrim A&E has had the worst performance in being able to deal with patients in under 4 hours, has the highest percentage of patients waiting 4-12 hours and the highest number of patients waiting over 12 hours
It was also claimed that the new A&E could manage 90,000 patients a year, however we see now that if 90,000 patients did use this A&E that there would be a total system failure.
There are more serious issues affecting this performance and this is directly link to the closure of wards and other A&E units within the Trust and it is no co-incidence that these issues have got worse since the removal of acute services at the Mid Ulster Hospital.
By closing the Mid Ulster A&E it lost vital capacity and despite being warned in a risk assessment not to close it, the Trust used polices that were agreed to by political parties to shut it. It also lost the capacity to admit patients to Mid Ulster, at one stage Mid Ulster had almost 200 medical beds to admit patients to, now it has in the region of 25.
This coupled with reductions of bed levels in Antrim Area Hospital has created a very toxic clinical environment for patients and staff.
What is required is a full independent inquiry into health services in the Northern Trust, as these changes in service provision have led to deaths, will these victims and their families get justice of will this problem be allowed to claim more lives.
For full stats on A&E performance see: http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index/stats_research/hospitalstats/emergency_care3/emergency_care-monthly_waiting_times.htm