Operations are cancelled but ‘no crisis’at Craigavon A&E

Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc
Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc

Five planned operations were cancelled this week at Craigavon Area Hospital, to make way for emergency surgery cases.

However, the Southern Trust said the cancellations were not due to pressures on the Emergency Department (ED), as was the case in other trusts.

A trust spokesman said that while the department has been extremely busy since Boxing Day, with high numbers attending, it is not resulting in cancellation of operations.

He said, “We have systems in place to cope. Although the Emergency Department is flat out we are not in a crisis situation.”

Chief executive of the trust Mairead McAlinden said on Wednesday that all planned operations were set to go ahead that day at both Craigavon and Daisy Hill hospitals.

She added, “The situation continues to be regularly reviewed and trust staff are working to ensure that as far as possible, all planned procedures will continue to be carried out this week.”

Meanwhile, the five cancelled operations will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Northern Ireland’s other four health trusts were forced to cancel some non-urgent, elective surgeries this week, in a bid to tackle demands on their emergency departments, with Belfast cancelling all non-urgent operations up until this Sunday.

The overall Emergency Department attendances for the period from December 22 to January 15 are 23,408 with 145 waiting longer than the 12-hour target.

Last year, more than 23,000 people sought help at their Emergency Department when 145 people exceeded waiting 12 hours.

A national target is in place where people should not have to wait more than four hours to be seen by a doctor in the emergency system.

Meanwhile, Mrs McAlinden, who is moving to a post in England, has thanked staff in the hospitals and in the community “for going well beyond the call of duty at this time” as well as community and elected representatives.