Off-duty staff have been asked to work to deal with severe pressure on hospitals
Part of the health service in Northern Ireland has appealed on social media for its off-duty staff to work to ease pressure on its emergency departments.
The South Eastern Health Trust said its hospitals are under pressure after an extremely busy Christmas period.
It said the number of patients attending its emergency departments this winter has been “unprecedented”.
It made the appeals for extra staff on Facebook and Twitter on both Monday and Tuesday.
BBC News NI’s health correspondent Marie-Louise Connolly described the move as “highly unusual”.
Facebook post by South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust: Tuesday………If any of our off- duty staff are available to come in to work this evening and overnight, they should…
South Eastern Health & Social Care TrustSOUTH EASTERN HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE TRUST
The trust runs several hospitals, including the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, County Down, and the Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn, County Antrim.
It said its emergency departments were “incredibly busy, like any others in the North of Ireland at the moment”.
A spokeswoman said the trust contacts staff “internally” to ask them to work at times of need.
But she added that it uses appeals on social media appeal as a “back-up”, and the method is part of the trust’s “winter pressure contingency plan”.
The South Eastern Health Trust is not the only one to feel strain on its resources over the Christmas and new year holiday.
Last week, Derry’s Altnagelvin Hospital in the Western Health Trust implemented an emergency plan to cope with the number of patients with which it was dealing.
On Boxing Day, doctors in the Southern Health Trust said patients were having to wait for up to 34 hours to speak to an out-of-hours GP.
The trust sent a text message to its off-duty doctors, asking them to help.
In the text, the trust said its out-of-hours service was “under unprecedented pressure”.
With many thanks to: BBC NI for the origional story
Meanwhile, a loyalist band founded by convicted peadophile Mark Harbinson is seeking permission to hold a late-night parade with 20 bands and more than 1,000 supporters through the mixed Co Antrimvillage of Stoneyford.
Harbinson, who was freed from jail last month having served a three-and-a-half-year sentence for the sexual abuse of a schoolgirl, is a leading member of The Pride of the Village Band. Some of the abuse took place in an Orange Hall in the village. The 45-year-old was found guilty of molesting his 13-year-old victim and having pictures of her topless on his mobile phone. Since his release he has reinvolved himself with the band and has been seen putting union and UVF flags up on main routes leading into the mixed village on the outskirts of Lisburn. The band has applied to the Parades Commission to hold a march on Saturday June 29 through the Main Street of the village with an outward journey not ccompleted until 11pm at night.
Sinn Fein assembly member Mitchell McLaughlin met with the Parades Commission on Wednesday to express concerns about the march, saying the application is designed to “ratchet up community tensions”. Harbinson had previously been accused of waging a campaign of sectarian attacks against Catholics living in Stoneyford. Mr McLaughlin said the parade plans were “a gross act of sectarian intimidation against all the people of this village – Catholic, Protestant, unionist and nationalist”. “The Parades Commission must by their decision make it clear that it will not permit such an abuse of people’s human rights. “I suggested they permit the local band and a small number of supporters to parade. “I expressed my concerns to the commission about Harbinson’s presence and I have spoken to the police about this matter as well. “I will be meeting the police on Friday to hear how they intend handling the situation in Stoneyford”, he said.
THE ORANGE Order has been urged to hold talks ahead of a controversial Twelfth of July parade through a mainly nationalist village in Co An trim. Hundreds of bandsmen and supporters will descend on the seaside village of Carnlough this summer for a major Twelfth of July demonstration.
Earlier this year Sinn Fein assembly member Oliver McMullan warned that the parade had the potential to cause “community tensions” in the run up to July. The East Belfast MLA last night said that the Orange Order had to date refused to speak to him or community groups in the area. “They have told police they are not talking to the Parades Commission or Sinn Fein,” he said.”This does not go well for a shared future the first minister and deputy first minister spoke about. “Here we have the Orange Order refusing to buy it. “This nonsence has gone on long enough, it’s time to grow up and sit down and talk.”
Mr McMullan spoke of his concern that the Antrim Coast Road would be closed to visitors at the height of the tourist season. Up to 400 members representing 11 lodges are expected to take part in the controversial march, which is traditionally held in Carnlough once every six years with the last in the village in 2007. A spokesman for the Orange Order said : “The Twelfth parade in Carnlough will act as a clear indicator as to whether republicans pay more than lip service to the idea of a shared future, and the cultural expression of the minority Protestant population in the village.” The latest row comes after residents in Rasharkin, Co Antrim, claimed they have reached a deal with the Orange Order to relocate their main Twelfth demonstration away from the centre of the nationalist village. The Orange Order has denied however that talks took place. Marne Area Commander, PSNI Chief Inspector John Magill said he “would encourage communities to put in place local sustainable arrangements around parading issues”.
Two brothers appeared in court yesterday accused of hijacking after a police officer wad squashed and injured by a stolen car. Joseph and Michael McManus, aged 27 and 19, whose brother was murdered for anti-social behaviour last saturday were arrested following attempts to stop a Renault Megane in West Belfast one week to the day after their brother was murdered by the CIRA early on Saturday morning.
A PSNI/RUC officer suffered chest injuries when squashed between his police car and the stolen car during the incident outside the Suffolk Inn on the Suffolk Road in West Belfast. The brothers, both of Orchard Hill, Crumlin, Co Antrim, are each charged with aggravated vehicle taking and assault on police. Joseph McManus is also accused of driving while unfit through drink or drugs, causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving, and failing to stop for police.
A detective told Belfast Magistrates Court she could connect both suspects to the alleged offences. Joseph McManus made no application for bail and he was remanded in custody to appear again by video link later this month. His brother had appeared in court on police bail following the weekend incident. Michael McManus was released to return again in eight weeks ‘ time. District Judge Fiona Bag all ordered him to have no contact with any prosecution witnesses. He was subjected to s curfew, electronic tagging and banned from being in a motor vehicle unless accompanied by a parent or solicitor.