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Found 28 results
  1. News Article
    NHS trusts in England have increased recruitment from low-income “red list” countries to make up for the post-Brexit loss of EU staff, despite a code of practice to safeguard health services in those developing countries. A report by the Nuffield Trust thinktank also identified shortages in vital specialist areas since Brexit, including dentistry, cardiothoracic surgery and anaesthesiology. It found that Brexit is still causing issues with the supply of medicines in Northern Ireland despite a change in the arrangements put in place by the EU last April. The report says that since 2021, the Northern Ireland protocol obliging EU trade rules to be followed in the region has led to a different set of medicines being available compared with the rest of the UK. Of the 597 products specifically approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency since Brexit, “only eight were also approved for Northern Ireland under the same name and company”. It also found that since 2021, 52 products had been granted marketing authorisation for Northern Ireland but not in Great Britain under the EU approvals system, including a painkiller from the Slovenian company Sandoz Farmacevtska Druzba designed to stop people dying from opiate overdoses. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) described the report as “deeply alarming”. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 7 January 2023
  2. News Article
    The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) is investigating whether a delayed response contributed to the deaths of eight people in recent weeks. All eight deaths occurred between 12 December and the start of January. The NIAS is treating four of the deaths as serious adverse incidents, which is defined as an incident that led to unintended or unexpected harm. The remaining four deaths are being investigated to see whether they meet that criteria. The patients' identities have not been disclosed, but it is understood one of the eight people was a man who waited more than nine hours for an ambulance in mid-December. The man's condition deteriorated and he died before paramedics arrived. The delays are a cause of "great concern," but there is "no end in sight to the pressures we are facing," according to the ambulance service's medical director Nigel Ruddell. He said the ambulance service conducts an internal review whenever "there is a delayed response to the call and a poor outcome from the call" to see whether delays contributed to a death. "That process involves liaising with the family and being open and clear with them about what happened on the day - whether it was because of pressures and demand on the day or whether there was something that, potentially, we could have done better." Read full story Source: BBC News, 4 January 2022
  3. Content Article
    The report identified: Poor practice including a lack of proper clinical investigation. Inaccurate diagnosis. Poor prescribing practices. Poor record keeping. Lack of openness and effective communication. Inappropriate treatment The risks of clinicians working in isolation. The expert panel has made specific recommendations for RQIA including: Ensuring that patients have direct access to doctors’ letters. Ensuring proper multidisciplinary team working. Tackling isolation in clinicians working alone. These important recommendations are at the heart of addressing the failings of the care and treatment provided. Clinicians must be supported to adopt good practice, especially in using up to date best practice routes to diagnosis and treatments. They should be encouraged and facilitated to seek the support of peers and others to challenge and review their analysis and thinking. These are issues, not only for neurology services, but throughout the health and social care system.
  4. News Article
    A Northern Ireland hospital closed its doors to new admissions on Saturday night because conditions had become unsafe, a health chief has said. Jennifer Welsh, chief executive at the Northern Health Trust, said the situation in the emergency department (ED) at Antrim Area Hospital on Monday remained “extremely pressured”. A major incident was declared at the weekend when a high number of critically ill patients arrived in quick succession at the Co Antrim hospital, prompting the decision to temporarily close the doors to new admissions. Ms Welsh said there were 45 patients in the ED on Monday for whom a decision to admit had been made, but for whom no bed is available. She told the BBC Good Morning Ulster programme: “That would have been unthinkable about four or five years ago, we would have never seen numbers like that." She said: “We had a high number of people arriving. A very high number of patients in the department. “At the time we called the incident there were 131 patients and about 66 of them had a decision to admit and no bed available. “At that stage our resuscitation unit was already full, it was over full. “Then we got the news we had three more standby ambulances coming in. That is critically ill patients who had to be brought into our resuscitation department as quickly as possible and we simply could not cope. “The safest thing to do in those circumstances is to call the major incident, to effectively close the door and what that means is that people are conveyed to the next nearest emergency department to ensure they begin the urgent treatment that they need because we were not able to do that. “It was the right call to say that it was unsafe. It was unsafe at that time.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 14 November 2022
  5. News Article
    Unpaid carers in Northern Ireland are suffering from "shocking levels of poor health", according to the charity Carers NI. In a survey of more than 1,600 unpaid carers across Northern Ireland, more than a quarter of respondents described their mental health as bad or very bad. One in five carers said the same about their physical health. The survey also found some 40% had not had a break from caring during the previous year and 23% said support services in their area did not meet their needs. Tracey Gililand, from Portadown, cares for her two disabled sons and said families like hers have been all but forgotten since the beginning of the pandemic. "Carers are still having to ask for the full return of much-needed day care and respite services and it feels like we've been left to paddle our own canoes with no help," she said. "No one knows our struggles, the many sleepless nights and exhaustion during the day. The impact on carers' mental health. The isolation that families like us experience that no one else sees," Ms Gililand explained. Carers NI said it has called for a legal right to social care support for all unpaid carers, the appointment of an independent carers' champion to advocate for carers to government, and wider transformation of the health system. Craig Harrison from the charity said carers had been "driving themselves into the ground", and were physically exhausted and in a state of constant anxiety. Read full story Source: BBC News, 8 November 2022
  6. News Article
    Shortages and rising costs of medicines could result in patients not receiving important prescriptions, community pharmacists have warned. Commonly prescribed drugs used to treat conditions such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure and mental health are among those affected. The Department of Health (DoH) said a support package worth £5.3m for the sector is being finalised. But Community Pharmacy NI said this "falls way short of what is needed". David McCrea from Dundela Pharmacy said the price of some medicines had been raised "fiftyfold". "As a community pharmacist for over 30 years, I have never witnessed the price of medicines rise this sharply," Mr McCrea said. "It is becoming increasingly hard for us to afford to buy the medicines from wholesalers because we are not being paid the full cost of these drugs by the department." Mr McCrea added the current situation was causing "financial stress" and was becoming unsustainable. "The bottom line is that we are now facing the situation where we will not be able to afford to supply our patients with essential medicines, within weeks." Read full story Source: BBC News, 18 October 2022
  7. News Article
    An appeal to establish a dedicated Mother and Baby Perinatal Mental Health Unit will be delivered to the Nothern Ireland health minister later. Individual women, charities and other organisations will hand over a public letter urging Robin Swann to act. Northern Ireland is the only place in the UK which has no dedicated in-patient service for women with serious post-partum mental health issues. The units admit mothers with their babies so that they can be with them. About 70 women a year in Northern Ireland are admitted to hospital with post-partum psychosis. The health minister approved some funding for perinatal mental health last year. However, no decision has been made on in-patient services. Read full story Source: BBC, 10 October 2022
  8. News Article
    Both patients and healthcare staff have a central role to play in ensuring the safe use of medicines, Health Minister Robin Swann has said. Minister for Health Robin Swann was speaking at an event to mark the roll out of the ‘Know, Check, Ask’ Campaign across all healthcare sectors in Northern Ireland. The aim of the campaign is to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of using medicine safely. The call for action of the campaign is for: Patients to Know Check Ask – Before you take it: KNOW your medicines and keep an up-to-date list. CHECK that you are using your medicines in the right way. ASK your healthcare professional if you’re not sure. Health Care staff to Know Check Ask – Before you give it: KNOW your medications. CHECK you have the right: patient, medicine, route, dose and time. ASK your patient if they understand and ask your colleagues when you are unsure. Minister Swann added “I want to encourage and help patients to be more curious about their medication, know what medication they are using, how to use it safely and feel able to ask their health care professionals questions about their medicines. Patients should also feel able and confident to report problems with their medication early and so help reduce avoidable harm.” Read full story Source: Department of Health, 30 September 2022
  9. News Article
    The number of people in Northern Ireland waiting more than a month to start cancer treatment is five times higher than a decade ago. Macmillan Cancer research collated between April 2011 and March 2012 said on average 18 people each month waited more than a month for treatment. By March 2022 that monthly figure had increased to 92 people - or by more than 400%. Macmillan Cancer said the jump revealed a system that was "failing" patients. Sarah Christie, Macmillan policy and public affairs manager, told BBC News NI that the figures revealed a "dark insight into a healthcare system that is failing time and again to meet the needs of people living with cancer". Ms Christie said: "People have a right to be frustrated. They deserve access to care at the right time. "We need a government in place so that change can happen and, crucially, that the three-year budget that had been planned before the executive collapsed can be signed off. "It is impossible to deliver transformation on short-term budget." Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 September 2022
  10. Event
    Pharmacy Forum NI and the DoH Strategic Planning & Performance Group (SPPG) have created a three-part webinar series entitled, ‘A systematic Approach to Insulin Safety in Community Pharmacy’. The first webinar in the series will take place on Wednesday 21 September 2022 at 7-9pm via Zoom and will focus on an introduction to human factors, concepts & tools, and their relevance to patient/medication safety and the wellbeing of the pharmacy team. Event programme and registration Who should attend? These events are targeted at all members of the community pharmacy team who play a part in the safe supply of medicines to patients, namely: pharmacists and foundation trainee pharmacists pharmacy technicians and assistants owners and superintendents medicines safety leads Guest speakers We are delighted to partner with Professor Paul Bowie and Dr Helen Vosper for the three-part event series. Professor Paul Bowie is a Safety Scientist, Medical Educator and Chartered Ergonomist and Human Factors specialist. He has over 25 years’ experience in a range of quality and safety leadership and advisory roles in healthcare, medical defence, military medicine and academia. He gained his doctorate in significant event analysis from the University of Glasgow in 2004 and has published over 150 papers on healthcare quality and safety in international peer-reviewed journals and co-edited a book on safety and improvement. Paul is also Honorary Professor and a PhD supervisor/examiner in the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow and a Visiting Professor at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada. He is Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Royal College of General Practitioners, and a Chartered Member of the UK Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors where he is the patient safety lead of the healthcare specialist interest group Dr Helen Vosper is a chartered ergonomist and graduate of the Loughborough Human Factors Masters Programme and an academic with 15 years’ experience of teaching Human Factors to healthcare students and professionals, including pharmacy students and pharmacists. She is currently the lead for Patient Safety in the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition at the University of Aberdeen. Helen also has a part-time role as a Senior Investigation Science Educator at the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch and is a scientific adviser in Human Factors and Patient Safety to NHS Education for Scotland.
  11. News Article
    Former patients and families of those affected by some of Northern Ireland's worst health scandals have called for accountability at every level of the health service. The collective of campaigners gathered at Stormont in protest on Saturday. They have demanded change, saying "enough is enough". They included those affected by systemic failures identified in neurology, urology, care homes and hyponatraemia. Danielle O'Neill, a former patient of the neurologist Dr Michael Watt, whose practice led to Northern Ireland's largest patient recall, was among them. "It's important for us to stand here today as a collective with all of the other scandals to show that we demand an individual duty of candour," she said. "We demand accountability, we demand justice. "There have been far too many health scandals in our health service." Read full story Source: BBC News, 4 September 2022
  12. News Article
    A proposed pay settlement is making doctors consider leaving the health service, the British Medical Association (BMA) in Northern Ireland has said. In a BMA survey of more than 1,000 doctors, 85% of respondents said the proposed uplift of 4.5% was too low. The representative body said discontent was very high among junior doctors with 93% of them saying it was too low. "When asked about their intentions as to the likelihood of them continuing to work in Northern Ireland, junior doctors said they were now more likely to leave because of the low pay award," said the BMA. Read full story Source: BBC News (31 August 2022)
  13. Content Article
    Key findings: Inpatient activity During 2021/22 there were 510,834 inpatient and day case admissions to hospital in Northern Ireland. This was an increase of 19.4% (83,102) on the number of admissions during 2020/21 but a decrease of 16.1% (97,704) on the number admitted during 2017/18. Of the 510,834 admissions, 49.2% (251,178) were inpatient admissions and 50.8% (259,656) were day cases. The day case rate for Acute services has increased from 80.3% in 2017/18 to 84.3% in 2021/22. The greatest increase occurred between 2020/21 and 2021/22 when the day case rate increased from 82.6% to 84.3%. Between 2020/21 and 2021/22, the average number of available beds increased by 2.3% (131.6) from 5,672.6 to 5,804.2. The greatest increase in average available beds was evident in the Acute programme of care, increasing by 133.4 (3.4%) beds from 3,951.5 in 2020/21 to 4,084.9 in 2021/22. Occupancy rate in hospitals was 79.5% during 2021/22; this was a decrease from 83.5% in 2017/18, but an increase from 69.9% in 2020/21. Average length of stay in hospitals has increased from 6.4 in 2020/21 to 6.7 days in 2021/22. In 2021/22, there were 83,269 theatre cases across all HSC Trust hospitals in Northern Ireland; this was an increase of 39.3% (23,507) compared with 59,762 theatre cases in 2020/21. The total number of hospital births in Northern Ireland increased by 264 (1.2%) from 21,531 births in 2020/21 to 21,795 hospital births in 2021/22. Key findings: Inpatient and day case activity in the independent sector In 2021/22 there were 20,039 admissions to hospital in Northern Ireland for an inpatient or day case procedure with an Independent Sector provider that was commissioned by the Health Service. This was an increase of 11,474 (134.0%) when compared with 2020/21. All Independent Sector admissions occurred within the Acute Programme of Care. Information on Acute services within the Independent Sector is provided by the Strategic Planning and Performance Group in the Department of Health, split by commissioning HSC Trust and specialty (the HSC Trust responsible for the patient’s waiting time). Data on the number of HSC patients treated in the Independent Sector are not National Statistics and have not been validated by the Department. Key findings: Outpatient activity During 2021/22, there were 1,009,034 face-to-face attendances at consultant-led outpatient services within HSC hospitals in Northern Ireland, an increase of 46.3% on attendance levels in 2020/21 (689,898). Almost one third of appointments (32.6%, 328,494) were new attendances, with the remaining 67.4% (680,540) being review attendances. This is a similar breakdown to previous years. Patients cancelled 118,255 appointments, giving a Could Not Attend (CNA) rate of 10.5. Hospitals cancelled a total of 155,987 appointments, giving a hospital cancellation rate of 13.4. Patients missed a total of 93,081 appointments, giving a Did Not Attend (DNA) rate of 8.4. During 2021/22, there were 4,784 outpatient attendances at a Day Case Procedure Centre (DPC) for the treatment of cataracts or varicose veins. During 2021/22, 31,530 patients attended an appointment with an Independent Sector Provider, commissioned by the Health Service. Key findings: Virtual attendances in HSC hospitals During 2021/22 a total of 341,166 virtual attendances took place at consultant led outpatient services within HSC hospitals in Northern Ireland, a decrease of 24.2% (108,662) compared with 2020/21. In 2021/22, around half (49.8%, 169,969) of the 449,828 virtual attendances were within the specialties of: T&O Surgery (28,744), General Surgery (28,040), Gastroenterology (26,213), Cardiology (24,149), Clinical Haematology (23,639), Endocrinology (20,528) and Urology (18,656). Key findings: ICATS activity During 2021/22, 67,978 patients were seen at an ICATS service in Northern Ireland. This was an increase of 15.6% (9,166) on the 58,812 seen during 2020/21. Of the patients seen during 2021/22, 47.1% (32,028) were new attendances, with the remaining 52.9% (35,950) being review attendances. Patients missed a total of 6,764 ICATS appointments during 2021/22, giving a Did Not Attend (DNA) rate of 9.0, compared with a rate of 8.1 reported for 2020/21. Patients cancelled 8,358 appointments during 2021/22, giving a Could Not Attend (CNA) rate of 10.9, higher than the CNA rate of 7.0 reported for 2020/21. Hospitals cancelled 9,269 appointments during 2021/22, giving a hospital cancellation rate of 12.0, compared with a hospital cancellation rate of 12.5 reported during 2020/21.
  14. News Article
    Health Minister Robin Swann has announced plans to improve the review process for serious adverse incidents (SAI) in Northern Ireland's health and social care system. The reviews take place after unintended incidents of harm and ensure improvements are made. The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) was commissioned to examine the system's effectiveness. It found the process was not "sufficiently robust". In the RQIA report, the independent body found that "neither the SAI review process nor its implementation is sufficiently robust to consistently enable an understanding of what factors, both systems and people, have led to a patient or service user coming to harm". It added: "The reality is that similar situations, where events leading to harm have been inadequately investigated and examples of recognised good practice have not been followed, have been and are likely to be repeated in current practice." It identified failures in the SAI procedure, including failures to: Answer patient and family questions. Determine where safety breaches have occurred. Achieve a systemic understanding of those safety breaches. Design recommendations and action plans to reduce the opportunity for the same or similar safety breaches in future. Read full story Source: BBC News, 7 July 2022
  15. Content Article
    Summary of recommendations The following recommendations are made to support the delivery of a new regional policy/procedure for reporting, investigating and learning from adverse events. The Department of Health should work collaboratively with patient and carer representatives, senior representatives of Trusts, the Strategic Performance and Planning Group, Public Health Agency and Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority to co-design a new regional procedure based on the concept of critical success factors. Central to this must be a focus on the involvement of patients and families in the review process. Health and Social Care organisations should be required to evidence they are achieving these critical success factors to the Department of Health. The Department of Health should implement an evidence-based approach for determining which adverse events require a structured, in-depth review. This should clearly outline that the level of SAI review is determined by significance of the incident and the level of potential deficit in care. The Department of Health should ensure the new Regional procedure and its system of implementation is underpinned by ‘just culture’ principles and a clear evidence-based framework that delivers measurable and sustainable improvements. The Department of Health should develop and implement a regional training curriculum and certification process for those participating in and leading SAI reviews.
  16. Content Article
    The investigation found a significant number of failures in the care and treatment of the patient overall and in the following areas: Nutrition and Feeding the patient – contrary to guidance which highlights the importance of high quality nutritional care based on individual assessment of needs with appropriate planning and monitoring, this investigation found the following failings: The feeding of porridge contrary to Speech and Language Therapy advice on 3 and 4 December 2016 and offering other foods contrary to advice. The recording who fed the patient porridge. The identification that the recommended diet was not provided and the taking of appropriate action. The recording of foodstuffs in a consistent manner. The reporting and recording of adverse incidents in relation to the feeding of porridge on 3 and 4 December 2016. Communication & Reasonable Adjustments – safe, person centred care is underpinned by effective communication. When caring for a patient with a learning disability communication must be timely and sensitive to the needs of the person and involve the family when appropriate. This is particularly essential in relation to pain management and when a patient is non-verbal. This investigation found the following significant failures: Failure to use any kind of pain tool to assess and record the patient’s possible pain or distress. This issue is of particular importance as the patient was unable to verbalise his pain levels. Failure to ensure the care of the patient was consistently tailored for a person with dementia and learning disabilities in accordance with GAIN Guidelines. The investigation also established further failings in relation to: A failure to ensure there was a coordinated approach between the Palliative Care and Care of the Elderly teams. A lack of coordinated communication between the family, Palliative Care and Care of the Elderly teams. The over prescribing of paracetamol to the patient on Ward 3 South due to the inaccurate estimation of the patient’s weight. The investigation established maladministration in relation to: The failure of the Trust to show regard for the patient’s human rights by failing to appropriately support or record the assessment of the patient's possible pain or distress; and to ensure the care of the patient was not consistently tailored for a person with dementia and earning disabilities. The failure to report overprescribing of paracetamol in line with the Trust’s ‘Adverse Incident Reporting and Management Policy’, April 2014 and Guidelines for the administration of intravenous (IV) Paracetamol’, December 2014. The failure to inform the complainant and her family of the overprescribing of paracetamol in line with the Trust’s ‘Being Open Policy’, February 2015 and it’s ‘Guidelines for the administration of intravenous (IV) Paracetamol’, December 2014. The failure to inform the complainant and her family of the overprescribing of paracetamol in line with the Trust’s ‘Being Open Policy’, February 2015. The poor management of complaints has been highlighted in many of the reports and inquiries that have examined the care of people with a learning disability in hospitals. Opportunities were missed in this complaints handling process to provide the family with empathetic and timely responses which may have helped resolve their concerns locally and prevented them having to use time and energy in approaching the Public Services Ombudsman. The investigation established failings in the Trust’s handling of the complaint namely: The failure to meet with the family prior to completing any investigation. The failure to share minutes of the meeting, held on 21 September 2018, with the complainant for comment. The delay in issuing minutes of the meeting, held on 21 September 2018, to the complainant. The delay in providing a final response to the complainant. The failure to provide regular and informative updates to the complainant. The failure to ensure coordination between the complaints team and the service area. The failure to recognise the sensitivities around arranging a venue for the meeting with the complainant on 21 September 2018. The investigation did not establish failings in the patient’s care and treatment in relation to: The decision to carry out the procedure of oral suctioning on the patient on the night before he died. The vitamin drip being administered after the patient was deemed End of Life on 6 December 2016. The reducing pain relief without consen. The anaesthetics care of the patient on 10 November 2016. The investigation was unable to make a determination as to whether the vitamin drip was administered prior to the administration of paracetamol on 9 December 2016
  17. News Article
    More than a quarter of cancers in Northern Ireland are being diagnosed in hospital emergency departments, according to Cancer Research UK. The study, published in The Lancet Oncology, was supported by NI Cancer Registry at Queen's University Belfast. It looked at 857,068 cases diagnosed between 2012 and 2017 in six countries including Australia, Denmark and the UK. Clare Crossey, 35, from Lurgan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in February 2018 after being admitted to hospital as an emergency. The 35-year-old mother-of-two, who is a domiciliary care assistant, suddenly became very unwell with symptoms including tiredness and bruising. She told BBC News NI she had contacted her local health centre, where a GP told her she was being overly anxious. Ms Crossey said she had panicked, fearing she may have leukaemia after looking up her symptoms on the internet. "I had a feeling that things weren't right," she said. "The doctor did not agree with my suspicions as they passed me the number of the Samaritans helpline, a prescription for beta blockers and told me to wait a week for blood tests." She said: "I went to Craigavon's A&E, they did blood tests and within hours a consultant broke the news to me that I might have leukaemia." The medical team told her that had she waited any longer to come to the emergency department, she could have died, said Ms Crossley. Barbara Roulston, from Cancer Research UK, said the study confirmed too many people were only being diagnosed with cancer once their health had deteriorated to a point when they needed to go to their emergency department. "We need to reduce the number of cancer diagnoses that are happening in this way," she said. "That means renewed focus on early diagnosis and prevention through things like better awareness of symptoms, better uptake of screening programs and the way to do that is to get funding for the cancer strategy which was published recently. "If we don't, the risk is that we will start to see cancer survival going backwards." Read full story Source: BBC News, 7 April 222
  18. News Article
    A paediatrician who was at the centre of one of Northern Ireland's longest running public inquiries will appear before a professional misconduct panel. Dr Heather Steen is accused of several failings following the death of Claire Roberts at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in October 1996. The nine-year-old's death was examined by the hyponatraemia inquiry, which lasted 14 years. It examined the role of several doctors. Among his findings, the inquiry's chairman Mr Justice O'Hara said there had been a "cover-up" to "avoid scrutiny." Monday's tribunal will inquire into allegations that, between 23 October 1996 and 4 May 2006, Dr Steen "knowingly and dishonestly carried out several actions to conceal the true circumstances" of the child's death. Also that the doctor provided inappropriate, incomplete and inaccurate information to the child's parents and GP regarding the treatment, diagnosis, clinical management and cause of her death. The tribunal website adds: "It is also alleged that Dr Steen inappropriately recommended a brain-only post-mortem for Patient A (Claire Roberts) when a full post-mortem was necessary. "In addition, it is alleged that Dr Steen failed to refer Patient A's death to the coroner, inappropriately completed the medical certificate of cause of death and inaccurately completed the autopsy request form for Patient A. "Furthermore, it is alleged that during a review of Patient A's notes, Dr Steen failed to consult with the necessary colleagues and medical teams and provided a statement and gave evidence to the coroner's inquest into Patient A's death which omitted key information." Read full story Source: BBC News, 21 March 2022
  19. News Article
    Campaigners have welcomed the "life-saving" legislation to bring opt-out organ donation to Northern Ireland. The legislation, which will align Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK, passed its final stage in the assembly on Tuesday. It means people will automatically become donors unless they specifically state otherwise. Máirtín MacGabhann, whose son Dáithí is waiting on a heart transplant, said it was "phenomenal". The bill is to be known as 'Dáithí's Law' after the five-year-old whose family have campaigned for the law change. Mr MacGabhann said it was an emotional day for them. He told BBC NI's Evening Extra programme: "The most important thing, regardless of the name, is that it's passed its final stage and that life-saving legislation will go through." Read full story Source: BBC News, 9 February 2022
  20. News Article
    Nursing leaders are to write to Northern Ireland's Secretary of State Brandon Lewis over the failure to establish an Executive and the risk this poses to patients. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) congress has passed a motion calling for all political parties and the UK Government to commit to the immediate formation of a fully functioning Executive and Assembly. Fiona Devlin, chair of the RCN Northern Ireland board, brought the matter to the congress and said the move represents the deep level of concern in the profession. “There is a responsibility to speak up when patients are coming to harm,” she said. “The health service is about to completely tip over the edge. We felt we did everything we could to communicate our concerns before the elections, and since then, nothing has changed. “The system is crumbling minute by minute, we have the worst waiting lists in the UK, our emergency departments are completely overstretched, primary care and the independent sector are in crisis. “Patients can’t be decanted out of ambulances into emergency departments because there’s no room in the hospitals and they’re dying in the back of ambulances. Read full story Source: Belfast Times, 8 June 2022
  21. News Article
    Waiting times for outpatient appointments, hospital procedures, emergency care, GPs and community health services have all hit record levels in Northern Ireland, with health care staff and patients declaring it the "worst ever" crisis to hit health services in the region. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, ever-growing patient demand, staff shortages, and the failure to put together a new Executive government following the recent Northern Ireland elections are being cited as the key drivers of the crisis, with health care staff now at breaking point. Speaking to Medscape UK, British Medical Association Northern Ireland (BMA NI) council chair Dr Tom Black said the current crisis in Northern Ireland's health services essentially boils down to "workload and workforce" issues. Waiting lists to access hospital appointments in Northern Ireland were already long before COVID-19, but the pandemic has significantly exacerbated the situation, he noted. Northern Ireland has the worst waiting lists in the UK, with more than 350,000 people currently waiting for a consultant-led appointment – more than half of them waiting over a year, with many waiting two, three, and even more years for an appointment. "We're now heading towards nearly 400,000 on hospital waiting lists, which is a huge number when you consider that is one-in-five of the total population," Dr Black commented. This week a judicial review is due to get underway at the High Court in Belfast after two patients initiated a legal case against the health services over excessive waiting times for access to care. One of the women has been waiting over five years to see a neurologist after being referred by her GP for suspected multiple sclerosis. The case is seeking a judicial declaration that the length of the waiting lists are unlawful and breached their human rights. Read full story Source: Medscape UK, 24 May 2022