The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is investigating the Accident and Emergency Department at Lagan Valley Hospital after a patient complained his rights had been violated.
Lisburn man Sam Kilpatrick, who is blind, made a complaint to the Commission after he was left on a trolley at the Lagan Valley A&E for two hours.
Making his complaint, Mr Kilpatrickexplained: “A doctor came and took blood after 20 minutes and then left for two hours.
“I needed to go to the toilet but I was in a private room and had no way of alerting a nurse. I had to ring Lagan Valley Hospital reception on my mobile and get put through to casualty to speak to someone.
“A nurse came and asked why I did not have a white cane... I said that I did, but I can’t find my way about the emergency department.
“She asked why I hadn’t brought it with me. I said it would be no good to me in the hospital.
“The nurse’s manner was not nice... I didn’t receive any food or water during that time. At the Lagan Valley Hospital emergency department there is no provision for disabled people.”
Responding to the concerns raised, a Department of Health spokesperson said: “The Department thanks the Human Rights Commission for this comprehensive and important piece of work.
The Department has received a copy of the final report today and will need to give its recommendations detailed consideration before commenting further.
“While Health and Social Care in NI is not complacent about the issues referred to by the NIHRC the Department would point out that the responsible statutory authority for assessing the quality of care provided by the HSC is the RQIA and not the NIHRC.
“Similar issues were highlighted by the RQIA in its inspection of the Belfast Trust in 2014.
“The Minister at that time commissioned the RQIA to carry out a comprehensive review of emergency and unscheduled care and published its report in July last year.
“The then Minister also established a Task Group to implement the RQIA’s recommendations. A follow-up inspection of the Belfast Trust late last year found that there had been significant improvement.
“The Task Group is continuing its work and the Department will consult in the near future on a values and principles statement for emergency care in NI inviting patients and the public to give their views.
“The HSC in NI therefore has a very clear focus on continuous improvement of the quality of care provided by our emergency departments.”
The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust said they would not be commemting further on the matter.