Nurses 'fear for lives' at Royal A&E

Published Tuesday, 25 February 2014
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A nurse at the Royal Victoria Hospital has told UTV she fears for the lives of patients if problems in the emergency department are not properly addressed.

Nurses 'fear for lives' at Royal A&E
The nurse spoke about the scenes of 'bedlam' at the A&E. (© Pacemaker)

On Monday, the Belfast Trust triggered what it described as an "escalation plan" to deal with the backlog of patients.

The Belfast Trust said there were pressures on all emergency departments across Northern Ireland at the weekend but while escalation measures were triggered, including opening beds and bringing in extra staff, a major incident wasn't called.

Last month, with 42 patients waiting on treatment and staff under pressure, the hospital's management declared a major incident.

Staff likened the scenes in the hospital to that of a war zone and the health minister was booed during a visit to the facility.

However, a nurse has said that on Sunday there was almost double the amount of people waiting on treatment compared to the amount that sparked the major incident last month.

She also claimed that patients were moved around the hospital its fracture unit and recovery ward in order to clear the area.

The nurse explained: "There were 96 trolley waits and what was happening was they were moving ones out to get more room to get more in. But there was no room to move anybody any more.

"It was just consistent bedlam. And what I want to get across is this is the norm, every night."

She went on: "When the incident happened in January patients were hidden in fracture clinics and this is why the next day they could come on the TV and the radio and everything and say, you know what we had cleared the trolley waits.

"They had cleared them because they had hid them."

In a statement, the Belfast Trust said: "We do not hide patients.

"As part of the measures to deal with the pressures within the emergency department system patients were moved into the theatre recovery ward where they were cared for by skilled nursing staff while ward beds became available."

Health Minister Edwin Poots, who is attending a conference in Barcelona, said his concern that things haven't been working as well as they could have been has been well documented and that was why he had ordered a review of emergency care.

© UTV News
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8 Comments
J.F in N.I. wrote (236 days ago):
If I was admittted to hospital I would reasonably expect a bed in a medical or surgical ward with nurses specialised in that area. .....not in theater recovery. while those nurses are highly qualifed they are not used to nursing acutely ill medical patients. I applaud this nurse for speaking out.
. in belfast wrote (236 days ago):
"escalation plan ?? another name for diaster plan!!
jill in belfast wrote (236 days ago):
hiding patients???? do i believe the trust or staff? staff as i know this happened!!
Bernadette Timmons in Omagh wrote (236 days ago):
I agree with the comments made by the nurse. I had to take my 84 year old aunt to the Royal over 1 year ago we were told by her GP to go to the Royal, we arrived at approx 5.30pm on a Saturday and it was 12.40am the following morning before we were sent home. My aunt was very cold and tired. Much too long for a woman of this age to be seen. When she had finally been attended the dr wanted to admit her but I think she had seen enough that night and just wanted to get home as she was told she would not get to a ward for some time. I would also like to point out that Altnagelvin hospital in Derry is much much worse. Unfortunately I had to take someone there recently and again waiting time was much too long for someone who was very ill,so ill that they were in hospital for 3 months after that. Not the most hygenic place either.
RVH staff in North Belfast wrote (236 days ago):
Fully agree with this statement --- its a total shambles & when i went into work today my collegues were expressing fears / concerns for patients as staff on other various wards where left very short staffed as staff had to go help in A & E ...
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