Ulster Unionist Party Health Spokesperson, Roy Beggs, has expressed his concern at the number of Serious Adverse Incidents happening across Northern Ireland’s hospitals. The East Antrim MLA has received confirmation from Edwin Poots that there were 383 serious incidents in 2013, an increase from 242 in 2011.
Roy Beggs said;
“All of us who rely on the NHS will be deeply concerned at the significant increase of these types of incidents in our hospitals. Whilst the vast majority of patients receive a fantastic service, primarily thanks to the sheer dedication and grit of our health service staff, there has been an overall increase of some 58% in Serious Adverse Incidents over the last three years.
“I am particularly concerned at the situation within the Northern Health and Social Care Trust hospitals which serve my East Antrim Constituents where there has been an increase from 49 in 2011, to 63 in 2012, and then some 131 serious adverse hospital incidents in 2013. This represents an increase of 167% since Edwin Poots came to office.
“The recent ‘major incident’ at the RVH in January and the subsequent ‘escalation measures’ last month have demonstrated the strain which our A&Es are working under. The upsurge in the number of serious incidents over the last three years appear to demonstrate what many people fear; the system is beginning to buckle and this is having a direct impact on the treatment of patients.
“It’s clear the support isn’t in place; the budget is inadequate, the staff are overworked and the A&E network is backing up more frequently following the closure of the City A&E and reduction of services in the Downe and Lagan Valley Hospitals.
“Recently it had come to light that 5 serious adverse incidents had occurred where delay at the RVH had a contributory factor. When pressing the Minister at the Health Committee, to ensure that his enquiry would take account of all hospitals, I had feared that with a significant waiting time at Antrim and the Ulster Hospitals in particular, there could be significant numbers of adverse incidents below the surface. The answers to questions that I have posed are indicating that there is an unacceptable level of serious adverse incidents. I will continue to probe the Minister’s Department on this and will demand that the difficulties are addressed.”