In 2001 Developing Better services stated Antrim required among other buildings a new A&E. Again in 2006 when A&E services at the Mid Ulster hospital were placed on part time opening hours, this new A&E facility was required but not there.In May 2010 when both Whiteabbey and Mid Ulster lost its A&E's this new build was required but was not there. By the time the new A&E opens it will be 3 years since to total closure of A&E's at the Mid Ulster and Whiteabbey Hospital sites.
What is yet to be revealed is:
- how is a new A&E that is the same operational size as the A&E being replaced going to cope with 90,000 patients a year.
- while serving 90,000 patients a year, waiting times in A&E are not becuase of the actual A&E unit it is becuase the internal capacity of the hospital is too small. 90 % of all patients waiting in Antrim A&E do so as there are not beds available to admit them
- Why when projections are of 70,000 attendances to Antrim A&E does a 90,000 facility need to be built and what future implications does this have for hospitals such as the Causeway.
While the new A&E will be challenged through assembly questions Save The Mid will still challenge that a new A&e is not in the best interests of Mid Ulster residents and is not a life saving service for everyone across the Northern Health & Social Care Trust.
McGlone: Proposed New Antrim Emergency Department ‘Two Years Too Late’
SDLP Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has given a cautious welcome to the unveiling of the proposed design of the new Emergency Department at Antrim Area Hospital. The department is not due to be open until Spring 2013.
Mr McGlone said, “The proposed new Emergency Department at Antrim Area Hospital will certainly be a welcome improvement to the facilities currently available. It ticks all the boxes required of a modern state-of-the-art emergency department.
“But it is at least two years too late.
“This is the sort of investment at Antrim that the Trust and the Minister assured everyone would be made before Accident and Emergency units at other hospitals, like the Mid Ulster at Magherafelt, were closed.
“Instead it has taken a very public crisis to develop at Antrim before the required investment is to be made.
“What this investment doesn’t do is address the current situation.
“The pressure on frontline staff at Antrim Area Hospital will not be alleviated now by the proposed opening of a new Emergency Department a year down the line.
“The failings of senior management revealed in the recent reports on the problems at Antrim will not be resolved by this either.
“There remain very serious concerns about the situation that was allowed to develop at Antrim. Those concerns have not been addressed by this PR exercise.
“I will continue to press the Minister to state clearly what action he is taking to address the negative impact on public confidence in our health service the situation at Antrim has had.”