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Thursday, 14 November, 2002, 21:02 GMT
Trolley waits at all time high
The number of people waiting on trolleys for beds in Northern Ireland's hospitals have hit an all-time high.

Figures released on Thursday from the 10 hospitals in the Eastern and Northern Health Board areas showed 95 people waiting.

The highest total was 24 people waiting on a bed in the City in Belfast - but this number is expected to drop sharply as the City takes it in turn with the Royal every 24 hours to accept emergency patients.

However, the figures do not include the number of people waiting in hospitals in the Southern and Western Board areas.

The longest queue there is likely to be in Craigavon where on Wednesday there were 20 waiting for a bed.

Overall, it is a depressing picture of staff doing their best to cope. Many are worried if the system is this far over-stretched in mid-November - what will it be like in mid-January?

An extra 100 beds are planned, however most will not come into use until after the worst of the winter is over.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Dot Kirby:
"The highest total was 24 people waiting on a bed in the City in Belfast"
See also:

20 Sep 02 | N Ireland
25 Jun 02 | N Ireland
11 Jan 00 | N Ireland
28 Sep 00 | N Ireland
12 Sep 00 | N Ireland
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