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Appeals for patients and families to support timely discharge from our hospitals


Dr Paul Baylis
Altnagelvin Hospital A&E Consultant Mr. Paul Baylis. Picture Martin McKeown. 22.12.20

We are asking patients and their families to assist the Trust by supporting timely discharge from our hospitals as our health service continues to deal with pressures on our Emergency Departments (EDs).

Dr Paul Baylis, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Altnagelvin Hospital said: “Our health and social care system is experiencing an overwhelming period of sustained pressure. Altnagelvin Hospital and the South West Acute Hospital like all others across the region are working beyond capacity, with many very ill patients waiting for hospital beds. It is vitally important that anyone who is medically fit for discharge is able to leave the hospital as quickly and efficiently as possible and that family are able to facilitate patients getting home.”

“The essential co-operation of patients, and their families and carers on discharge, will help free up beds during this extremely challenging time.”

To help the Western Trust free up essential beds, which are required for very sick patients, the Trust is appealing to both patients and families to assist by considering the following actions:

  • If patients are deemed medically fit by the consultant/senior doctor to go home, they and their families should ensure there are arrangements in place to be picked up promptly on the day of discharge. Medical and nursing teams can help you make these arrangements.
  • If patients are deemed medically fit by the consultant/senior doctor to go home and are waiting on a care home placement, Trust staff will allocate the first place that is suitable for you. This may not necessarily be your first choice but it is important to note that the Western Trust will work closely with you to move your family member to your first choice at a later date.
  • If you are deemed medically fit by the consultant/senior doctor to go home, and there is a delay in sourcing new or additional home care (domiciliary care), you may be discharged and these elements of your care package will be organised when you get home. Additional family support may be required until the home care package is finalised.

Encouraging families and carers to help with timely discharges, Dr Baylis continued: “Everyone is aware, that Health and Social Care across the region is under huge strain. We are in very challenging times, we are asking you to help us, so we can help others who are very ill and need a hospital bed and we need your support more than ever before.”

“Our staff are continuing to work hard to ensure that patients receive the treatment and care that they need. To help them, we are asking that patients do not remain in hospital any longer than necessary. We also need families to provide transport to transfer loved ones from the hospital in a timely manner (whenever this is possible). Thank you.”

“Please only come to ED if you have a medical or mental health emergency. Please find suitable alternative healthcare options available to you, such as your GP Out of Hours or the Urgent Care and Treatment Centre at the Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex.”

If you are attending the ED please observe all the COVID-19 measures in place.

Phone First is in operation in our Emergency Departments and Urgent Care and Treatment Centre.

The number to ring is: 0300 020 6000
Text: 0870 240 5152