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Urgent Care staffing concerns rejected by Western Trust

CONCERNS over ‘insufficient’ staffing levels at the Urgent Care and Treatment Centre (UCTC) based at Omagh Hospital have been rejected by the Western
Trust.

Sinn Féin councillor Barry McElduff said he understands that the required level of “suitably qualified” emergency nurse practitioners is not being met on occasions.

However, the Trust responded by stating that the UCTC has “sufficient staff to provide 24/7 service on an ongoing basis”.

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The UCTC is a nurse-led Minor Injuries Unit operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The team consists of emergency nurse practitioners who will see, treat and discharge the full range of presenting minor injuries. They are assisted by staff nurses who assess, carry out treatments, give advice and provide support.

While there should be two emergency nurse practitioners on duty at all times to ensure that there is a permanent, full-time service, Cllr McElduff claims sometimes only one nurse practitioner is on duty and, on occasions, none at all.

As a result, he says the staff on duty are under “increased stress and pressure” and are at risk of “burn out”.

“This is of serious concern to myself and the public,” said Cllr McElduff.

“There needs to be 24/7 round the clock cover and I am seeking urgent clarity that the Trust ensures there is a 100 per-cent full service with proper workforce management and deployment at all times.”

A spokesperson for the Western Trust told the UH that while there are times of staff absence, all is done to ensure a “safe, high quality service” is maintained.

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“The Trust would like to reassure the public that the UCTC has sufficient staff to provide 24/7 service on an ongoing basis,” said the Trust spokesperson.

“However, there are times when staff are absent for various reason planned and unplanned and staff in both Enniskillen and Omagh work as a team to deliver and sustain the services needed in the UCTC.

“The service provision from the UCTC is delivered seven days per week on 365 days of the year, staff break times are covered to ensure service continuity is maintained.”

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