Bed pressures have existed in the Antrim Area Hospital since before the removal of services at Mid Ulster Hospital.
The decision to shut the Mid Ulster Hospital was proved long ago that it was a clinically dangerous move in terms of the ability of network hospital to handle the extra provision; such is the fragility of Antrim A&E being that less than 1 patient extra on average per hour has collapsed the system
From January 2012 Antrim Area Hospital has adopted the use of show beds in wards to try and improve performance, day case beds were removed from their wars and placed in the admission wards, Also the practice of show beds in the wards has now become common practice. A show bed is a bed that has no:
- secure cabinet for medicines
- oxygen points
- space to bed is limited in the event of a crash call
When we take cost cutting exercises like the non-recurrent savings of closing wards 2&3 at Mid Ulster creating a full year equivalent saving of £1,100,000 in 2011, only then to be followed by the expenditure of £946,728 to hire out 15 intermediate care beds and medical cover for 15 beds in a private hospital. Wards 2&3 at the Mid Ulster would have been far cheaper to run and also have a greater capacity.
Health Minister Edwin Poots is on record on Hansard stating it was a mistake to shut the Mid Ulster Hospital, now recognising the mistake we must find a way to rectify it. This will only be done by re-introducing services to the Mid Ulster Hospital site.
The future of acute care in the NHSCT must be built on solid foundations; we cannot simply allow any future plan for acute care to devoid the Mid Ulster area of any.