RCEM Northern Ireland Vice President said "This is a shocking illustration of crowding in Emergency Departments that post COVID-19 could not be allowed to recur"

Annual data showed that for 2019-2020 on average 59.4% of patients attending Type 1 (major) Emergency Departments were seen, treated and discharged or admitted to hospital within 4 hours of their arrival. This represents a decline of 5.5 percentage points since 2018-2019.  

Attendances to Type 1 Emergency Departments declined by 36,000 patients. More dramatically, the number of patients waiting twelve hours or more almost doubled. In 2018-2019 a staggering 45,074 patients spent twelve hours or more in Emergency Departments, representing 6.8% of total attendances. This represents an 80% increase in the number of patients in comparison to last year’s annual figures.   

Dr Paul Kerr, Vice President of The Royal College of Emergency Medicine Northern Ireland said: “The publication released today of the annual report for 2019/20 reveals the worst data on record and sadly this comes as no surprise.

This is a shocking illustration of crowding in Emergency Departments that post COVID-19 could not be allowed to recur without creating an unsafe environment for Patients and Staff. We urgently need action to prevent this crowding occurring again

"In a world where we will have to operate and treat patients alongside COVID19, we simply cannot return to practising corridor care with often very vulnerable patients waiting over 12 hours for a bed.

"The Review of Urgent and Emergency care needs to be completed as soon as possible. To ease pressure placed on Emergency Departments, we need to build capacity through increasing staffing, the number of acute hospital beds, and the social care that are fundamentally required.”