SDLP Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has called on the Health Minister to take
urgent action to address the serious problems at Antrim Area Hospital A&E.
The Mid Ulster MLA’s comments came as leaked reports described the hospital
culture as being “driven by rules and protocols” that fails to meet
“fundamental human needs” of patients.
Mr McGlone said, “These reports expose serious problems at Antrim Area
“Having been asked by the Health and Social Care Board to examine issue of
the unacceptable waiting times at the A&E unit, the reports found a hospital
culture which is “at times bureaucratic, driven by rules and protocols, with
a focus on targets and finance”.
“Most damning of all, in relation to the A&E unit, Dr Ian Rutter is reported
to have concluded, “The issues which have been identified… have led to
patient care which lacks dignity and which fails to meet fundamental human
“It is also worrying that the reports make reference to staff being
“disempowered” and that there are “frustrations with the effectiveness of
the current medical system to effectively engage frontline medical staff”.
“I have repeatedly warned the Minister that Antrim Area Hospital had not
been properly prepared for the impact of the closure of rural hospitals’ A&E
“These reports show frontline hospital staff under unacceptable pressure and
a management structure unable to cope.
“It is clear that there is a crisis at Antrim Area Hospital. The Minister
can no longer pretend that the current system can cope.
“He must take responsibility for this debacle and take urgent action to
address the problems identified in these reports, and I have tabled a number
of questions on these very serious matters.”
Assembly Questions to the Minister
To ask the minister for Health how many (i) recruitment searches for doctors
and nurses, broken down by grade, were carried out by the Northern Trust for
each hospital in each of the last 5 years; (ii) how many vacancies were
there in each drive; (iii) how many applications were received for each
position; and (iv) how many positions were filled
To ask the minister for Health what representations or complaints have been
made to the department relating to staff shortages, waiting times and other
clinical problems at Antrim Area Hospital by (i) senior management in the
Northern Trust; (ii) staff at Antrim Area Hospital: and (iii) members of the
To ask the Minister for Health what reviews have taken place in the last
year regarding the management structures of the Northern health trust and
how management communicates with medical staff in hospitals
To ask the Minister for health what is the maximum length of shift for each
grade of hospital staff and how many times have these been broken in the
last 12 months in Antrim Area Hospital
Priority AQ 3 days
To ask the Minister for Health what immediate action will be taken in
relation to patient care at Antrim Area Hospital in light of the findings of
the investigations carried out by Mary Hinds & Dr Ian Rutter