Hospital needs consultants ‘working during the night’

Mark Taylor who learnt to play the guitar as exercise for his damaged fingers. INLM46-121gc
Mark Taylor who learnt to play the guitar as exercise for his damaged fingers. INLM46-121gc

A Lurgan man has said his confidence in Craigavon Hospital is waning after news there would be no consultants working overnight at the emergency department.

Mark Taylor said he was ‘horrified’ that there would be no consultants working overnight, adding that it was essential someone with seniority and expertise was at the hospital.

The Southern Health Trust revealed that Craigavon Area Hospital employs two junior level doctors overnight with a consultant and registrar available on-call.

Indeed none of the province’s emergency departments have a consultant working between midnight and 8am, according to figures released last week.

Mr Taylor said he had severed three fingers of his hand during an overnight accident at a Portadown bakery 30 years ago.

“My hand was crushed in a hydraulic press. The first response of the doctors at Craigavon’s Accident and Emergency department was to amputate three of my fingers,” said Mr Taylor.

He told the Mail that a consultant Dr Coville was at the A&E Department. “He happened to be there overnight and looked at my hand and said ‘I can save those three fingers’,” said Mr Taylor.

“My son is now 18 and I would hate for him to be involved in an accident and arrive at the A&E department at night where there is a lack of medical experience and expertise. It is a worry for my family.

“It is well known that junior doctors are working excessive hours and maybe not in a position to make the best decisions due to tiredness,” said Mr Taylor.

“There have been cutbacks at Dungannon hospital and now there are cutbacks at Craigavon. To me it is crazy.”

“My confidence in the hospital is waning,” said Mr Taylor who added that when he heard that no consultants would be working overnight at Craigavon “it hit a nerve”.

Top A&E consultant Sean McGovern, vice-chair of the College of Emergency Surgery, said patients could be put at risk.

He said emergency departments were operating with about half the required number of consultants.