- Mid Ulster Hospital,
Mr Poots: I am advised by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) that it has introduced the following service developments within the Northern area in support of improvements in patient care and also in response to changes in acute service provision.
Following relocation of in-patient surgical services from both Whiteabbey and Mid Ulster to Antrim Area and Causeway Hospitals in late 2009, an additional ambulance based in Magherafelt was introduced to provide 24/7 accident and emergency cover at a cost of £500,000 per annum. A&E ambulance cover based in Antrim and Whiteabbey, and intermediate care vehicle cover based in Whiteabbey was also increased at a total cost of £375,000 per annum.
In April 2010, there was further investment of £514,000 to introduce another A&E ambulance based in Magherafelt to provide additional cover following the introduction of a minor injuries unit at Mid-Ulster Hospital.
In addition to the above, and as part of the NIAS programme of reform to increase rapid response cover, a net increase of 1,929 hours has been made available in the Magherafelt area.
- Minor Injuries Clinic at the Mid Ulster Hospital
Mr Molloy asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety how many patients have presented at the Minor Injuries Clinic at the Mid Ulster Hospital since it was established in May 2010; and how many of these patients were able to receive the necessary treatment at the clinic.
Mr Poots: Between the 24th May 2010 (the date on which Mid-Ulster emergency care department was reconfigured from a consultant-led treatment service to a minor injury unit) and 31st April 2011, there were a total of 5,579 new and unplanned review attendances at Mid-Ulster Minor Injuries Unit, of which 4,940 patients ‘received necessary treatment’. For the purpose of this question, ‘received necessary treatment’ has been defined as those patients who were not transferred to an alternative emergency care department.
- Mid-Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt
Mr McGlone asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for an update on the plans for additional beds at Antrim Area Hospital to meet the demand resulting from the changes to services at the Mid-Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt.
Mr Poots: I fully understand the concerns expressed by people regarding the timely access to services in the Northern Trust. I intend to look at these issues in more detail soon. In the interests of patients, I want to expedite a wider reform agenda where I want to promote a modern service which is underpinned by sound evidence of effectiveness, delivered by skilled staff with access to up-to-date technologies and modern buildings.
The Northern Trust has advised me that the final phase of the transfer of acute inpatient services from Mid Ulster commenced on 17 May 2011 and will be completed by 8 June 2011. A range of service improvements is also underway to reduce the pressure on access to the current beds in Antrim Area Hospital.
To complement these service improvements, the Trust in collaboration with my Department, is putting in place a range of measures to increase future capacity within Antrim Hospital. This includes a new Accident and Emergency Department and a new 24 bedded ward area. But these will not be ready before 2012/13
In the meantime, and in order to provide additional capacity this year, the Trust plans to create 14 additional beds by December 2011.