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A&E feedback sought from patients

By Paul Ainsworth

A BODY concerned with the welfare of health service users is seeking feedback on Accident and Emergency Department experiences, following the closure of South Belfast’s only unit.

The A&E department at Belfast City Hospital closed its doors in November, in what health bosses called a “temporary” move. Citing a lack of doctors for the closure, which sparked local anger, the Belfast Trust has yet to reveal any plans to reopen the facility.

Meanwhile, last week the Patient and Client Council (PCC) called for people to use its Freephone service to describe issues revolving around A&E care and out of hours services.

Chief Executive of the PCC, Maeve Hully said: “There is an absolute need for people to know that if they go to an A&E department in Belfast they will get safe and appropriate care for the whole of the time they are in the department.”

Speaking of the local closure, she told the South Belfast News: “We know there are pressures on A&E services throughout Northern Ireland now. Patients and their families appreciate the hard work of staff in our hospitals, however, the need for timely access to high-quality hospital care is a major issue. People need to be clear when they should use A&E or GP out of hours services and minor injury units. People can only make the appropriate decisions when they have clear information.”

The free helpline number for the Patient and Client Council is 0800 587 8863.

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