The Health Minister must ensure that additional resources are in place so Altnagelvin Hospital can handle an increase in Covid-19 cases and provide other vital services, Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said.
Martina Anderson was commenting amid concerns that Altnagelvin Hospital may have to repurpose its orthopaedics ward for the treatment of Covid patients.
“I have been made aware of plans to repurpose Altnagelvin’s Ward 21 as a Covid ward as a result of the huge increase of cases in the north west,” she said.
“Vital orthopaedic services are currently in Ward 21.
“I raised the issue of the needs of these patients with Health Minister Robin Swann just weeks ago.
“On that occasion, I raised the case of a patient in chronic pain who has been waiting almost five years for a total hip replacement.
“And while the hospital apologised, I told the Health Minister that such waiting times are simply unacceptable.
“The backlog within orthopaedics is already huge so any move to disrupt those services can only cause further delay and suffering to many vulnerable patients.
“We all accept that our health service has been going through an unprecedented pressure.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the healthcare heroes who have been on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19.
“And while once again we are facing the very serious challenges that Covid-19 presents, there remains an onus on the health minister to ensure other vital services continue to operate at Altnagelvin.”