Coronavirus: Craigavon Area Hospital surgeon issues warning

Trauma surgery may have to be rationed at Craigavon Area Hospital if Covid admissions keep pressuring services, an orthopaedic surgeon has warned.

Consultant Ronan McKeown usually treats patients with injuries caused by road collisions and accidents in the home.

He is urging people to take extra care to reduce their risk of injury.

“People need to be extra careful, they maybe aren’t aware that the hospital is coming under increasing pressure as more and more people get admitted.”

He added: “As the capacity of the hospital diminishes that will influence what we can do and the services we may be able to offer the public.”

Mr McKeown said while the trauma and orthopaedics unit was currently coping, he was concerned that as admissions rise they may not be able to offer patients the surgery they need.

“We may actually have to ration surgery and it may be that you end up with a broken arm or a broken leg that we do not have the time or space to operate on, and it will heal with a deformity and potential disability.

“We don’t know what way it’s going to go, but we are worried that if it continues to go the way it’s going that we won’t be able to cope.”

The consultant urged the public to take practical measures to protect themselves.

image captionThe consultant urged the public to take practical measures to protect themselves from accidents

“If you’re carrying a Hoover, don’t carry all the bits at once so you don’t trip over the leads,” he said.

“Turn a light on in the middle of the night if you’re getting up to go the bathroom.

“Drive a bit slower on the road to reduce your risk of accidents, anything at all you can do to minimise or mitigate against them will help and will help us to help.”

More than 2,700 NI healthcare workers are isolating as a result of Covid-19.

Mr McKeown said reduced staffing levels were also putting pressure on hospital services.

“We have much less staff because they have to self-isolate,” he said

“If they come into close contact with anyone, with track and trace and the different tracing apps, people are more aware and they have to take two weeks out of work.

“That didn’t happen before, we had more staff available, but there’s a great reduction in the number of staff available now as well.”

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