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Patients warned to use services appropriately.


12 January 2015

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Patients are being urged to make better use of health service resources by the British Medical Association (BMA).

Tom Black, BMA Northern Ireland’s GP committee chair, is appealing to patients to carefully consider the services they require before heading in to A&E.

According to the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) 40 people had waited longer than 12 hours in emergency departments across Northern Ireland by 9am on the 5th January.

Patients are being urged to make better use of health service resources by the British Medical Association (BMA).

Tom Black, BMA Northern Ireland’s GP committee chair, is appealing to patients to carefully consider the services they require before heading in to A&E.

According to the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) 40 people had waited longer than 12 hours in emergency departments across Northern Ireland by 9am on the 5th January.

Health trusts across Northern Ireland have implemented a range of contingency measures, including the cancellation of elective procedures, to address the issue.

Dr Black said: "The health service in Northern Ireland is under extreme pressure at the moment trying to meet the demands of patients in general practice and in emergency departments.

"There has been considerable pressure on emergency departments where the situation is exacerbated by the difficulties with patient flow into and out of hospital, resulting in trolley waits.

"Neither the public nor health service staff want this situation; we need to use our resources as efficiently as possible."

HSCB director of performance management and corporate services Michael Bloomfield said: "All trusts have experienced a challenging two-week period as they have seen a seven per cent increase in activity in emergency departments compared with the same period last year.

"The board is continuing to liaise with all trusts to monitor the situation closely and will do so over the coming days, ensuring appropriate actions are being taken to address the pressures."

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