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More people going to hospital in Northern Ireland as bed numbers decrease

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Is health service in Northern Ireland at breaking point?

Numbers of people admitted to hospital in Northern Ireland are increasing as bed numbers continue to fall.

Figures published by the Department of Health show that there were 615,271 admissions in 2016/17, up 3,435 on the previous year and 9,343 on 2012/13. The average number of available beds fell by 5.9%  between 2012/13 and 2016/17.

The figures were published in the same week as it was reported that the Western Trust had halted inpatient bookings at Altnagelvin Hospital because of a nursing shortage and vomiting bug.

One GP told the BBC that the system was broken, and that primary care was feeling the knock-on effects of the pressure on hospitals. The trust said the situation was being monitored on a daily basis.

Further information

Department of Health: Northern Ireland inpatient, day case and outpatient hospital statistics for 2016/17

BBC: Altnagelvin hospital: Trust suspends inpatient bookings