Over 500 care packages outstanding in Southern Trust – Lockhart

DUP MP Carla Lockhart has written to the Health Minister Robin Swann MLA to urge him to take swift and decisive action to bolster domiciliary care provision in Northern Ireland. The Upper Bann representative was speaking after a meeting with the Southern Trust to discuss ongoing pressures at Craigavon ED, which was also attended by local MLAs Diane Dodds and Jonathan Buckley.

By Carla Lockhart MP

Upper Bann

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Carla Lockhart said:

“The situation at Craigavon Accident and Emergency remains serious. Indeed the hospital is operating beyond capacity and the pressures on both staff and services are extreme. The staff are exhausted and yet they continue to deliver world class health care to all those in need.

We do need to look at the cause of these pressures in the round. The hospital is seeing an increase in COVID-19 admissions, so we must all continue to do what we can to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 within our community and we can all take steps to protect ourselves and other from the virus.

We also however need to look at the wider pressures on our hospital beds. In the Southern Trust alone there are 513 care packages outstanding. This is resulting in some people having to stay in hospital longer than they need to be there, when they should be receiving the care they need in the comfort of their home. If this issue was sorted by the Minister, the pressures on bed occupancy would most certainly be eased.

I have written to the Minister to ask him to urgently tackle this issue. We need to encourage people into this area of healthcare, yet rates of pay for the role remain unattractive to many. The Minister must address this and launch a recruitment drive as soon as possible. We also need wider investment across domiciliary care to ensure the packages provided meet the precise needs of patients and give comfort to both the patient and their family that the care they need can be provided in home.

This is not a COVID only caused crisis in our Health system. It is also a consequence of much needed and obvious investment and action not being taken by the Department. We need that comprehensive all-encompassing approach to be taken now. The Minister must act.”

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