Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has questioned the planning behind the staffing levels at the new Accident and Emergency Department at Antrim Area Hospital which officially opens today (Wednesday 26 June 13).
Roy Beggs MLA commented;
“The problems at Antrim Area Hospital’s A&E Department have been well rehearsed over the past two years and I have previously highlighted the fact that the NHS waiting target of 95% of patients being seen within 4 hours has been routinely missed by large margins.
The opening of the expanded Accident and Emergency Unit at Antrim should be a cause of optimism. However the good news has again been clouded with confusion about the planned staffing levels. We have been informed by a Trust official via the media that 20 new nurses have been recruited to work in the new unit.
Yet recently my colleague Robin Swann, North Antrim UUP MLA put a question to the Health minister about current and projected staffing levels and was given a completely different answer: (AQW22134/11-15) In May according to Minister Poots, there was to be no change in the shift patterns and just an extra two trained nurses were going to be put onto each of the 9pm to 8am, and 8am to 9pm shifts. One more ‘nursing support’ was to be added to the 8am-9pm shift.
Given that Royal College of Nursing seem to be unaware of these 20 new nurses for Antrim A&E, I would again question the planning processes in the Northern Health Trust. Minister Poots needs to step in and clarify the staffing situation. The people who rely on Antrim Area Hospital – including my constituents in East Antrim – need reassurances that the new A&E is going to meet their needs and be fit for purpose.”