Winter Pressures in the Fracture Clinic

When the temperature plummets and pavements get icy, there is an increased risk of falling and breaking an arm or leg.

During the recent cold spell at the start of December, Belfast Hospitals saw an increase of 50% in the number of people arriving at the Emergency Department with fractures.

So how does Belfast Trust cope with the increased pressure on our services in icy weather, and continue to provide the best possible care?

The Trust has devised an escalation plan that kicks in as soon as the temperature drops and more people start arriving at A&E with fractures.

The plan implements a range of measures that make sure that patients get seen as quickly as possible, and that as few people as possible are waiting at home for fracture surgery. This plan includes:

  • Two reports each day – to make sure everyone is kept up to date, and we can respond to the changing situation
  • Closer working between A&E and Fracture Clinic to assess patients and make sure they get treated as quickly as possible.
  • Extra beds are made available in the Trust
  • Extra surgery lists – More sessions are arranged for Trauma Surgery.

If the weather stays cold, and pressure on our services is sustained, then extra measures are implemented including:

  • Extra Review Clinics
  • Some elective (planned) orthopaedic surgery at Musgrave Park Hospital is postponed, in order to deal with Emergency (Fracture ), unplanned cases.

With more snow forecast throughout this winter, Belfast Trust continues to improve our planning, using excellent team work across services to provide a high quality, reactive service to the people of Belfast and across Northern Ireland.