Ritchie Tables Westminster Motion To Discuss UK-Wide A&E Crisis
SOUTH Down MP Margaret Ritchie (SDLP) has tabled a Parliamentary Early Day Motion calling for the UK government to take urgent action over the state of A&E services in local hospitals.
Speaking from Westminster Ms Ritchie said: “This motion highlights the crisis facing A&E services in Northern Ireland. This crisis stems from the UK Government not putting adequate resources into the training, recruitment and retention of A&E health practitioners.
“These staff are required to work long and extremely unsocial hours in very demanding circumstances, and their pay and conditions should reflect that. Instead, due to under-investment going back to 2010 we face a drastic shortage of staff that cannot be made up quickly due to the time it takes to train a new A and E Doctor.
“The weekend closure of the Downe and Lagan Valley Hospitals by the Health Minister has exacerbated this problem. The demand these closures have put on other hospitals has already led to a critical situation developing at the Royal Victoria Hospital and patients are being put at risk by these decisions.
“I have called for the Secretary of State to convene emergency talks with the UK and the Northern Ireland Health Minister to find a resolution to this problem,” added Ms Ritchie.
The motion to be tabled by Margaret Ritchie MP:
(Early day motion 967): ACCIDENT AND EMERGENCY SERVICES
That this House recognises the current crisis facing the provision of accident and emergency services; acknowledges that an inadequate resourcing of the training, recruitment and retention regime is leading to a shortfall in accident and emergency health practitioners throughout the NHS; is concerned that this is putting patients at risk and creating further costs elsewhere in the system; further recognises the high cost associated with a reliance on locum doctors to provide these services; concurs with the comments made in The Independent by the President of the College of Emergency Medicine Dr Clifford Mann, stating that this problem has resulted from an under-investment in training going back to 2010 that has caused a chronic shortage in the recruitment of accident and emergency doctors; is critical of the closure of weekend accident and emergency services at the Downe Hospital in South Down and other local hospitals in Northern Ireland, which has placed an excessive strain on other accident and emergency wards including the Royal Victoria Hospital, where there was a major incident on 8 January 2014; and calls on the Government to conduct an urgent review of accident and emergency services and to work with the devolved administrations to address this problem.