Sinn Féin MLA and party chairperson Declan Kearney has said he is deeply concerned at the temporary closure of the Emergency Department at Antrim Area Hospital during the night.
The South Antrim MLA said:
“A Major Incident was declared at the hospital last night as a result of the number of critically-ill patients being treated and the Emergency Department was temporarily closed down.
“Hospital staff are doing all their power to discharge patients today to free up much-needed hospital beds.
“I urge the public to continue to co-operate with hospital staff and people should definitely attend the ED if their condition is urgent or life threatening.
“Unfortunately the knock-on impact of last night’s closure will be that those who attend with conditions which are not urgent may endure a long wait to be seen.
“This latest incident in our hospitals is deeply concerning with pressures increasing as we move into winter.
“Our health service and staff are under huge stress because of a decade of Tory cuts and underinvestment, and the DUP’s blockade of the Executive.
“Health service staff and patients need an Executive up and running, to put one billion pounds extra investment into health, to tackle waiting lists, recruit more doctors and nurses, and fund cancer and mental health services.
“The reckless actions of the DUP are blocking this vital funding from being released into the health and social care system. Hospitals such as Antrim Area are now at breaking point as a result.
“The DUP should get back to work and ensure that health workers have the resources needed to tackle the huge pressures across our hospitals, emergency rooms, our GP surgeries, and the entire health care system.” CRÍOCH/ENDS