Antrim A&E 'fails' patients

Published Tuesday, 22 May 2012
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Antrim Area Hospital must undergo a complete overhaul, claims an independent review that has found major failings in patient care.

Antrim A&E 'fails' patients
The A&E at Antrim Area Hospital was slammed in the report. (© Pacemaker)

The leaked report, seen by The Irish News, was ordered after over 200 people waited more than 12 hours to be treated or discharged at the A&E in January.

Author and top English GP Dr Ian Rutter claims the hospital is "understaffed and under huge strain", which means the "fundamental needs" of patients are not being met and "urgent" changes must be made.

The Health and Social Care Board also asked nursing expert Mary Hinds to look into the situation. She found "frustration" and "disempowerment" among doctors and nurses at Antrim, while doctors felt managers do not communicate with them properly.

The reports, due to be released on Thursday, said the failings in the A&E, including diagnostic delays, poor communications between GPs and consultants and a number of other factors "led to patient care which lacks dignity and which fails to meet fundamental human needs".

Dr Rutter carried out his investigation over a two week period and calls for a "redesign" of Antrim Area Hospital. He said there is "profound recognition within many who work in the system" that the hospital "needs fixing urgently and real changes need to be put in place".

Mayor of Antrim, Paul Michael, said the report reflects patients' lack of confidence in the hospital.

"I would ask the Trust to take this on board and listen to the views and comments of the patients who are using this hospital on a day to day basis.

"Everybody supports the nursing and doctor staff, but clearly there is a management problem here and a low morale between management and staff," he added.

Ms Hinds reported frontline staff felt "disempowered", and that "respectful trusting relationships" between staff needs to be at the centre of any change.

"Some medical staff have expressed frustrations with the effectiveness of the current medical system to effectively engage frontline medical staff," she wrote.

UNISON's Anne Speed said the report showed "great cause for concern" and highlighted that "something is going wrong".

"We know from day to day there are real pressures on nursing staff. Overall this report will have to be seriously examined, the board has some big questions to answer.

"We do think that problems can be resolved but those in charge are going to have to face up to some hard facts," she said.

The Northern Trust and Health and Social Care Board both declined to comment on the review.

© UTV News
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5 Comments
Ann in Carrickfergus wrote (882 days ago):
I totally agree with all the above statements after numerous visits to Antrim and admittance on a number of occasions the amount of people walking around with clipboards supposedly doing something and nothing was disgusting far to many chiefs and not enough indians as the saying goes and the wages they are paid is riduculous. My own GP is so disgusted at the service i have been offered there he has now requested a second opinion at a different hospital god knows how long i will have to wait. Only 1 consultant has tried to help and been amazing as for dept i am under they ignore me when ever they see me as they say nothing can be done so i live in constant pain. The doctors/nurses in A and E do their best but at night it is bedlam with drunks, junkies and all sorts to cope with while seriously short staffed with only 1 doctor on to cope with the lot. I have waited so long for outpatient appointments that they sent me to a private hospital twice to be seen paid for by the board as the waiting lists are so long. So Mr Poots go figure if thats not a waste of money what is. They need to start at the top and weed out the wasters and put someone in who can do the job properly and not someone who is in there just to line their own pockets also they need to employ more doctors and nurses not pen pushers and paper shufflers.
ANNE in BELFAST wrote (885 days ago):
I think its about time the Government started respecting our Hospitals and the staff within those hospitals. They closed Whiteabbey A&E and also City A&E and expect the doctors and nurses to still treat patients within a specified period. They put all the money into English hospitals making them state of the art but when it comes to us we are forgot about. I have experienced Antrim A&E and I had to ask when I was being seen as i had waited approx 5 hours and that was before I had went into Triage!! Its easy to blame the nurses and doctors and yes they should try to be more helpful but it isnt their fault that they are put under these pressures. Health and Safety Laws have a lot to answer for, they are the reason that only certain things can be done by certain people. Stormont wake up and smell the coffee!!!!!!!
Clare in antrim wrote (886 days ago):
Totally agree.My friends daughter spent 16 Hours in Antrim A&E on Sunday night with suspected poisoning...luckily she was fine,as by the time she was seen,the treatment period had passed...the wards are exactly the same.After one of my children was admitted to Antrim,I have vowed NEVER to bring them back (they have a chronic condition).I know the staff are under pressure but the place is a disgrace.VERY poor hygiene standards and a total lack of empathy.The "care" my child received was questionable at the very least.NO ONE knew what was going on or were able to tell me what was happening.It took 5 DAYS of constant asking before a doctor was available to speak to me and this was only because I told them I was removing my child myself and would be taking her to The Royal.I had to ask for repeat tests to be carried out before my child was discharged.They then failed to tell me that they had cancelled her outpatients appointment and carried out the test on the ward...resulting in myself bringing my vulnerable child to outpatients the following week to be met with a cancelled appointment!! The place is a danger and I dread to think what would happen to patients if their carers or relatives weren`t,in some way,medically "clued up" about their condition.
Disgusted in Co Antrim wrote (886 days ago):
Maybe it would be a good idea to examine the amount of money spent on top management salaries, sick pay due to stress, amount of time spent providing statistical information proving how much is saved and comparing it to recruiting proper multi-disciplinary teams and providing the beds and equipment needed to effectively reduce waiting times in hospitals. I commend our doctors, nurses and key frontline staff for providing a mostly excellent service under the current unacceptabe constraints they have to work within. Also, a lot of people attend A&E departments unnecessarily because they cannot wait to see their GP. Maybe our GP and primary care services need to be examined to see if they could improve their services which would cut these waiting times.
Whattaboutye in former Antrim A&E patient wrote (886 days ago):
There's certainly a bottle neck in Ant A&E I was there last year on a quiet night, there was plenty of nurses and the main topic of conversation between them was who was going on which break. After 5 hours I asked when I would get my hand stitched to be told, "only a Doctor can STITCH YOU and SHE {SINGULAR} is busy" -_-' That reply spoke volumes not only on staffing levels there but also the level of training / or lack off at Antrim A&E....... Why can't experienced nurses give stitches? and why is there only one doctor on? and why is that doctor messing around with basic medic procedures instead of addressing more important work, or sleep?
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