TERMINALLY ill patients have been moved from the Macmillan Unit in Antrim to clear beds for people struck down with the coronavirus, it can be revealed.
It is understood that the move came after the first recorded case in Antrim Area Hospital - though the Northern Trust have declined to comment on that.
They have confirmed, however, that faced with ‘exceptional circumstances’ they felt that drastic steps had to be taken to free up beds - and the plan was hatched to transform the Macmillan Unit into an isolation ward.
“Given the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Northern Ireland, it is inevitable that some patients will require clinical treatment in an acute hospital. As a result, it is important that we adhere to the correct infection control procedures,” said the Trust spokesperson.
“As a result of pressures due to increasing cases of COVID-19, we have taken some necessary steps to increase bed capacity on the Antrim Area Hospital site.
“With the support of Macmillan NI, we recently reduced admissions of patients requiring palliative and end-of-life care to the Macmillan unit on the site.
“A small number of patients in the unit transferred to single-room accommodation on the Mid Ulster Hospital site this week.
“We consulted with patients and their families who were impacted and it was not a decision that was taken lightly but we hope that people will understand that we face exceptional circumstances that require us to take measures that we would not normally be taking.”