Health Minister welcomes Minister of State on visit to Royal Victoria Hospital


Health Minister Edwin Poots has said safe and effective Emergency Department (ED) care will remain a top priority, after he recently welcomed Northern Ireland Office Minister of State Andrew Robathan to the emergency departments of the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

The Health Minister welcomed news that there has been a 44% reduction in the in the number of people who waited longer than 12 hours in Northern Ireland EDs in the last year, but added that he was determined to see more improvement.

He commended the excellent work carried out by the staff and said: “One of the best ways to improve the quality of patient care and the effectiveness of our services is to listen to the people directly providing the service and their ideas on how to achieve this. Earlier this year I participated in the Royal College of Nursing Emergency Care Summit and the Unscheduled Care Summit held by the College of Emergency Medicine. At these events I was deeply impressed by the passion of the staff and their desire to deliver the best possible service. Today’s visit has reinforced that impression.

“While the number of people waiting for longer than 12 hours has dropped significantly our services remain under pressure and no-one is under any illusion that there are any quick or easy solutions. In recent months, I have taken a number of actions aimed at improving the quality of emergency care in Northern Ireland. It is my intention that the various strands of action I have put in motion, along with other measures like the initiatives being taken forward under Transforming Your Care will all come together to provide people in Northern Ireland with a health services that truly delivers the right care, in the right place, at the right time.”

The two Ministers met with staff and patients of the Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Department and the Short Stay Paediatric Assessment Unit. They subsequently toured the main Emergency Department and met with both patients and staff.

Mr Robothan said: “I was grateful to the Minister for Health and the staff of both hospitals for explaining to me the challenges that they face and the measures that are underway to address them. The Prime Minister described the National Health Service as ‘one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century’ and I wholeheartedly agree. I pay tribute to the staff I met today for their commitment to provide the best possible service to all those in their care.”

Marie Mallon, Acting Chief Executive said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to welcome Health Minister Edwin Poots and Rt Hon Andrew Robathan, Minister of State for Northern Ireland to Belfast Trust and show them first-hand the work of our Emergency Departments.”