Published Tuesday, 22 May 2012
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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.