Disappointment in Royal Victoria Emergency Department report further demonstrates need to prioritise patient safety, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw has warned that disappointment expressed by staff and unions at an RQIA inspection report into the Emergency Department at Royal Victoria Hospital demonstrates once again the need to prioritise patient safety across the whole of Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland.

Health Paula Bradshaw

The South Belfast MLA has said: “The Alliance Party’s Health Manifesto at the 2022 Assembly Election specifically included consideration of an independent Patient Safety Commissioner and of reform of regulation. The response to the RQIA report, referring to an inspection of the Royal Victoria Hospital’s Emergency Department in November 2022, is just the latest demonstration of why we made these commitments.


“We have now seen countless warnings – not just in the staff’s and their union’s response to this report but also in the Serious Adverse Incident review, the Independent Neurology Inquiry and elsewhere – that patient safety is not being adequately prioritised. Indeed, the Department says in its ‘Overarching Implementation Plan’ arising from the scandal around Michael Watts that it recognises patient safety must be the priority theme of its response – yet we are still seeing little to no evidence of exactly how this will be acted upon.


“Putting patient safety first requires doing things fundamentally differently. The existing systems – be they in overseeing performance or managing Emergency Departments – are not functioning correctly to ensure patient safety is the number one priority, and the regulatory response remains inadequate.


“Alongside the urgent need for safe staffing legislation, it now seems increasingly apparent that an independent Patient Safety Commissioner and Scrutiny Board, as the Alliance Party proposed a year and a half ago, are absolutely necessary to push forward the reform needed on behalf of patients and of the staff doing all they can for them.”