Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has warned that the Minister must be proactive on ensuring everyone has dignity in death as pressures build across the Health Service.
The South Belfast MLA said: “We have been stretching our healthcare workers to the absolute limit throughout the Pandemic and I welcome the earnest warning from the Belfast Trust about how serious this issue has become. This is not just about Emergency Departments; it is about the care beforehand and the entire pathway towards ensuring hospital beds and appropriate care packages are available.
“Dying with dignity is a fundamental human right and the Winter Surge Plans are designed with this in mind. Many people are trying their best to ensure that this dignity is maintained. However, the situation has been made worse by the space required to cope with the Pandemic and 380 people in hospital with Covid.
“The question now is what steps we take, urgently, to reduce hospitalisation with Covid given that there are enough winter pressures already on hospitals. We need to make sure that the focus in hospitals is on the most urgent cases. This means vastly improved communications about where people can best be treated, but it also means consideration about mitigations in terms of ventilation and vaccine or negative test certification in busy indoor venues where risk of transmission is high.
“Ultimately it means there will need to be a pro-active approach to preventing people having to attend hospital in the first place and relieving the pressure on the staff working in them so that Surge Plans can be implemented and no one is left without dignity.”