Due to recent developments within the NHSCT, Save The Mid have lobbied MLA's to ask the health Minister several questions to help highlight what is going on inside the Trust
A group of senior consultants in Antrim Area Hospital have described the A&E department as "ineffective and unsafe".
The claim was made in a letter from seven consultants in the department to the hospital's medical director.
Editor's Viewpoint – 11 April 2013
The row between the former chairman of the Northern Trust Jim Stewart and Health Minister Edwin Poots has got very personal.
Mr Stewart was sacked by the minister and now he is demanding that Mr Poots should resign, arguing that statistics on breaches of waiting time targets at Antrim Area Hospital show that demands on the accident and emergency service are neither realistic nor achievable.
And he presents a quite compelling case showing that in March – even with extra resources and additional expertise from Britain – there were 299 breaches of the 12-hour limit patients should wait to receive treatment compared to 94 in the same month last year. Mr Stewart's sacking after a public row with the minister over targets was strange given that heads seldom roll in the health service.
For example, there was no similar action taken against anyone for the deaths of four babies in the pseudomonas outbreaks in Belfast and Londonderry a year ago.
Where the truth, or even the moral high ground, in the current row lies is something to be decided on another day. It would be more fruitful to examine if current A&E provision in the province is adequate to meet demand. The public perception certainly is that it is not.
While targets can be a meaningful way of ensuring efficient use of resources, the results can be massaged to indicate better performance than is actually achieved.
The minister might usefully look again at targets across the NHS to ensure that they set achievable outcomes without prejudicing care, which is, after all, the primary duty of the service. There is no doubt that staff in hospitals are under increasing pressure and no good purpose is served by blaming them when they fall short of arbitrary treatment times. Staff have no control over who, or how many, turn up at hospital doors, particularly during winter months and that should always be borne in mind, even by Mr Poots.
Antrim A&E - Patients Waiting over 12 hours wait The equivalent of 319 days for admission or discharge
Between 4th Jan -15th Mar 639 patients who have attended Antrim A&E have had to wait over 12 hours before they were admitted or discharged.
This is the equivalent of a minimum of 319 days spent waiting in A&E by these patinets.
15,000+ PATIENTS sent to private CLINICS while Consultants cancel Over 17,000 appointments in Northern Trust 2011/12
The Northern Health & Social Care Trust sent 15, 000 plus patients private in order to deliver the support of achieving Backstop Waiting Times position (references, pages; 38, 39, 40, 41 : link).
Backstops were created in waiting lists by the Trust in conjunction with the Health & Social Care Board, this allowed the trust to over run and miss targets without fear of reprimand.
According to most recent data (1st April 2012 4th Jan 2013) the Northern Trust have sent 2,426 Daycase/inpatient to the private sector and 12,889 outpatients to the private sector, in total a 15, 315 patients.
The current Ministerial target for daycase/inpatients in that 50% of patients should be treated within 13 weeks and for outpatients 50% of patients should wait no longer than 9 weeks for an appointment.
These targets were reduced at the start of the new Assembly term in 2011, previously targets were (reference, pages; 46, 47: NHSCT):
● No patients should be waiting longer than 13 weeks for inpatient or daycase treatment
● No patients should wait longer than 9 weeks for a 1st outpatient appointment
These targets have reduced over the years to try and allow for poor performance within the Trust but even with this drop in the Trust are failing.
According to the performance report 1,446 patients are still waiting over 13 weeks for treatment in daycase/inpatient with a further 3,642 patient still waiting over 9 weeks for the first outpatient appointment. Other areas are also affected by poor performance:
● Diagnostics 1,484 patients are waiting over the 9 week target for cardiac
● Allied Health Professionals 201 patients are waiting over the 9 week target for occupational therapy
The question that must be answered is not why are 15,000+ patients being sent into the private sector to beat waiting lists, it is why have services not increased to meet the demand of the population within the NHSCT. The Ulster Hospital recently had to cancel up to 30 operations a day due to lack of capacity, now we see the NHSCT have to make more use of the private sector.
This is yet another failure by the NHSCT managers to plan for the future and fully deliver, these extra sessions are specifically to beat waiting lists, waiting lists that only developed due to lack of capacity within the Trust to meet the
needs of its residents. This is directly realted tot he clousre of services at the Mid Ulster
For the year 2011/12 the Northern Trust spent £116,435,000 (reference, page 41 link) purchasing care from non government bodies, the private sector, while some of this is spent on nursing and residential homes for elderly patients some of this pot is also spent on sending patients to private hospitals. As of yet the Trust have not released how much the contracts for this extra private care is costing the taxpayer.
Serious concerns must be raised within the Northern Health & Social Care Trust regarding Outpatient appointments in which the Trust had to cancel, ( reference, page 20 link) for the year 2011/12 the NHSCT cancelled 5,976 out patient appointments as no consultant was available, on top of this consultants themselves cancelled 17,113 appointments.
If you have been a patient, visitor or if you are a member of staff at Antrim Hospital can you please fill out this short survey. http://savethemid.weebly.com/antrim-area-hospital---survey.html
Staff, visitors and patients have not been treated with due respect or due care by management within the Northern Health & Social Care Trust, this is your opportunity to have you opinions heard. Results of this survey will be shared with the Heath Minister and the Health Committee. Both of whom are aware of several risks that have occurred in Antrim Hospital. No personal information is gathered and you will not have to give us your name, we just need your experience.
We would take this opportunity to thank the nurses and other front-line staff who at this time are working under considerable pressures, pressures that are purely the fault of bad managerial decisions within the Trust.
When we are ill and require admission to hospital the very least the management of the Northern Trust can do is ensure that we have beds that are medically safe to be treated in. Also management should ensure that patients are afforded privacy and human dignity and not have patients wheeled into wards to lay on show beds for the general hospital population to see.
It is time to send a message to the Northern Trust management that is loud and clear, we are patients but be are also human beings.
This patient experience was read out and discussed at the 68th Northern Health & Social Care Trust Board Room meeting, 28/02/2013.
This patients account shows whats happens when systems fails, from December 2012 the Antrim Hospital was so stretched for beds that patients were diverted from it.
Antrim Hospital is classed as one of the major 5 in Northern Ireland and for this to be able to take place is unacceptable.
An independently living elderly patient attended Antrim A&E on the 18th December 2012 at 10am.
After waiting 5 hours for treatment she was admitted into the main hospital site, the lady and her family were told that she could expect to be home in 3 days time.
After responding well to her treatment she was not discharged from the hospital as directed. This then led to an ordeal that resulted in the once independently living lady being discharged to a nursing home.
During her stay she was moved 5 times within the hospital despite the fact that after her A&E visit she was admitted to the appropriate ward to treat her illness.
After being advised that she could be discharged for Christmas no social worker could be gained to support her discharge which left the lady spending Christmas in the hospital.
On the 27th December the lady developed more illnesses, further to this the lady was discharged on the 31st December 2012 but was too frail to return to her home and the discharge was to a nursing home.
The Northern Health & Social Care Trust (NHSCT) is falling behind in its target to beat C-Diff within its hospitals and buildings.
On 14th October 2008, the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety advised the Assembly that a public inquiry would be conducted into the outbreak of Clostridium Difficile infection that occurred in Northern Health and Social Care hospitals. The Minister established the Public Inquiry on 31st March 2009.
The Inquiry Report was published on 21st March 2011. The Inquiry had one finding and made twelve recommendations. The Clostridium Difficile Report is now available and can be accessed by selecting Inquiry Report.
The Northern Health and Social Care Trust responded to the findings of the Public Inquiry into the C.difficile outbreak in the Trust in 2008. Chief Executive, Sean Donaghy said,
“On behalf of the Northern Trust I would like to unreservedly apologise to everyone affected by the C.difficile outbreak in the Northern Trust. The Trust deeply regrets the suffering of patients who had C.difficile while in our hospitals and the associated distress for them and their families.
“I would also wish to express my sincere sympathy to the families of those whose loved ones died as a result of having a C.difficile infection.
“On behalf of the Trust Board, I fully accept the recommendations of this Public Inquiry. I wish to thank the Inquiry for their balanced and thoughtful report and for their acknowledgement of the commitment and efforts of staff during the outbreak and since that time.”
“It is clear that for some patients, aspects of their care did not reach the standard expected by the Trust. We have learned from their experience and we have taken action to make improvements.”
According to Wiki sources the NHSCT has seen one of the worst outbreaks of C-Diff in the past ten years with 31 patients dying during the major outbreak in 2007-2008.
For the year 2012 the NHSCT has seen 56 recorded instance of C-Diff, 14 (25%) of which have resulted in death. For only 2 months did the Trust manage to have C- Diff inside targets laid down for them.
In other information released by Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency a breakdown of which facilities that C-Diff deaths occurred were published, in total 662 patients died with a C Diff infection between 2005-2011, the worst offending hospitals were:
The top offending hospitals are also hospitals that have faced sever pressures on their ability to deal with the demand being placed upon them in recent years.
These figures do not reflect in total where C-Diff was contracted and there may be instances where patients died in an hospital or home due to a C_Diff infection but acquired the infection in a different hospital.
MRSA death figures, 2005-2011 are also released by NISRA and can be found below.
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