Major change is required if Northern Ireland's emergency departments are to avoid another "exceptionally difficult" winter, a senior consultant has warned.
Dr Brendan Lavery, who works for the Western Health Trust, said "standing still is not an option". He described the system as currently operating on a "knife edge".
The Department of Health said it was "a very challenging time" for staff "with COVID-19 restrictions impacting on an already fragile system".
Speaking to BBC News NI, Dr Lavery likened the situation to "Groundhog Day" with decade-long problems like capacity and staffing exacerbated by the lingering effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on other healthcare services.
The department responded: "Well before COVID-19, there was clear evidence that our urgent and emergency care services were under increasing pressure. This is an unsustainable position that requires sustained investment and reform, including, of course, long-term investment in staffing. There is no quick or easy solution to these problems."
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Source: BBC News, 12 May 2021