Death on trolley at RVH investigated

Published Tuesday, 11 March 2014
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The Belfast Health Trust is investigating the death of an elderly patient who was waiting on a trolley in the emergency department at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Death on trolley at RVH investigated
The circumstances surrounding the death of the patient are being investigated. (© Pacemaker)

It is understood the woman was admitted late on a Friday last month and had to wait several hours before she was examined by a consultant.

There is concern that although she was extremely ill, the delay may have contributed to her death.

Medical staff raised the matter with the trust's medical director and chief executive at a meeting at the Belfast hospital on Monday and the trust has now begun an investigation.

Five other deaths last year, which may be linked to waiting times, are still being examined.

The news comes on the same day it emerged that the Chief Executive of the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Colm Donaghy, is resigning from his post after nearly four years.

He leaves Northern Ireland with my gratitude and best wishes for the future.

Health Minister Edwin Poots

Mr Donaghy has worked for the health service in Northern Ireland for 22 years, but will now take over as Chief Executive of the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Having previously served as CEO of both the Southern and Northern Trusts, he was then appointed to the Belfast Trust role in 2010.

The trust has been coming under increased pressure recently, following a number of incidents at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

In January, a major incident was declared with the emergency department to deal with an unprecedented backlog of patients waiting 12 hours on trolleys to be seen.

The situation sparked a protest by union workers the next day, with the scenes during the major incident likened to something out of a war zone.

In February, "escalation measures" were put in place to bring in extra staff and again tackle the pressure being placed on emergency department workers at the Royal.

On announcing his departure, Mr Donaghy said it was not a decision he had taken lightly.

The opportunity for Belfast Trust in the future to deliver even better and more innovative services to the people of Belfast and to the regional population is unbounded.

Colm Donaghy

He continued: "Belfast Health and Social Care Trust is a world-class organisation and there is never a good time to go.

"I have enjoyed my time in Belfast immensely and have had the honour to work with some of the most talented and committed people currently working in the health sector.

"I sincerely wish them well for the future."

Health Minister Edwin Poots thanked Mr Donaghy for his service in Northern Ireland over the years.

"As Chief Executive of the Belfast Trust since 2010, he has demonstrated courageous leadership - as well as energy and resilience in undertaking one of the most challenging roles in Health and Social Care," the DUP minister said.

"He leaves Northern Ireland with my gratitude and best wishes for the future."

Chair of the Belfast Trust Peter McNaney also paid tribute to Mr Donaghy's work, adding: "Colm has been a tremendous asset to this organisation and has worked diligently to ensure our patients and clients have received the best possible care.

"Colm's steadfast belief in the ability of our staff and his strong leadership has carried the organisation to its great achievements and through its challenges.

"We are all deeply indebted to him."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
5 Comments
sharon in Bangor wrote (170 days ago):
Time to re-open City Hospital Emergency Dept!
Paul Campbell in Newtownabbey wrote (171 days ago):
What is so unusual about someone dying in hospital, I think the hospitals here are fantastic.
Derek McDowell in Australia wrote (171 days ago):
Having listened to the interview the point was made that the present system was implemented a long time ago in a much different age. Taking into account today's advances in medical technology and all-round costs the old system cannot be expected to meet people's needs anymore. It is no longer reasonable to expect a quality health service to be provided free by government. People need to get rid of the belief that health care is a free entitlement. If costs were shared, either through some kind of insurance or gap contributions (could be means tested), this would enable the quality of service to be greatly improved.
gerard in belfast wrote (171 days ago):
how many people will it take to die before this joke off a health minister wakes up and open the city hospital for the A/E again the RVH is over work as it is we r being told this is doing fine yes if u live in a 3rd world country u could say that but we dont r we didnt till this joke off a govenment got there hands on it could some 1 please tell me what they have done in the last 15 years to help the people off this country if over in england had off closed the city there would have been a out cry from south belfast cause it was a dup mla who did it not a word even if it had have been a s/f mla there would have been blue murder from the PUL area the next 1 to die could be any off us r some 1 from r familys so everyone no matter were they come from should be shouting about what has been happing with our NHS SERVICE before its too late if its not already we all need some time may god be with that family tonight and help them in there hour off need
A in Belfast wrote (171 days ago):
Lets save lives by getting rid of poots.
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