Other News In Brief

Royal Victoria Hospital To Open Emergency Care Unit Due To Demand

Health officials are planning an "emergency care village" for Belfast to avoid a Christmas crisis, it has emerged.

The temporary facility will operate from the second floor of the Royal Victoria Hospital to cater for an anticipated spike in emergencies over the busy winter season.

Despite the move, a senior union official has warned that the health service is "walking into the winter blindfolded".

Trade Union Forum Chairman Kevin McAdam said there was a lack of emergency capacity across the region, which was particularly acute in Belfast.

He warned: "We are walking into the next winter crisis without having cleared last year's.

"We are still dealing with flu problems that went into last May and June.

"We welcome the fact the Trust is making every effort to improve the number of beds that can be available in whatever circumstances are needed."

SDLP councillor for north Belfast, Paul McCusker, welcomed the announcement and said the need for an emergency village highlighted the mounting pressure on hospital A&E departments across Belfast.

He added: "The opening of the new A&E at the Royal Hospital in 2015 was to address the increased time patients were waiting for treatment and this new build was designed to deal with all pressures.

"While the new emergency care village is to be welcomed to alleviate pressures and to ensure patients are receiving good care, I fear this will have a knock-on effect on other services and add additional pressure on nursing and medical staff.

Young Children Throw Bricks Through L'Derry Bus Window
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Police have expressed concern that a group of young people threw a brick through a bus window in L'Derry.

Four children, aged between 10 and 13, launched stones at a bus in the Hazelbank area, with one throwing a brick that smashed a window, on Tuesday 04 December.

Writing on the PSNI Foyle Facebook page, a spokesperson said: "This doesn’t even make me angry it just makes me sad. This is a Service used by all sections of our community, young people to get to clubs, folks going to and from work, older free bus pass users.

"Any one of our parents or grandparents could have been sat next to that window. We need to educate our kids that attacking buses is not funny and not a game."

Officers are appealing for anyone with information to contact the non-emergency line 101 quoting reference number 1271 of 04 December.

Standards At Belfast Theology College 'At Risk'

A watchdog report has found that further improvement is required at Belfast's Union Theological College (UTC).

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) conducted an inspection in October 2018 at the theological institute of the Presbyterian Church that teaches students from Queen's University Belfast.

A total of 204 students attend, which is a drop from the 233 last year.

173 are studying through university courses, while 31 are working to enter the Presbyterian Ministry.

The report found that although the facility was making progress, further improvement was required as it has failed to implement all the recommendations from the previous review in 2016.

It deemed that UTC were putting "academic standards and quality at risk" by not fulfilling it's responsibility of monitoring teaching, learning and assessment across all pathways.


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