30 April 2019
Responding to the latest Emergency Care Waiting Time Statistics for January to March 2019, Dr Ian Crawford, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Northern Ireland, said: “Despite the mild winter and fewer cases of influenza, a third of our patients are still spending > 4 hours in our EDs in Northern Ireland, which continues to be worse for our patients and staff than anywhere else in the UK.
“10236 patients spent > 12 hours in our EDs in NI in the 3 months from January – March 2019 as a direct consequence of inadequate / reducing capacity in the face of increasing demand. With the final quarter’s data to hand we can see that a staggering 25343 patients spent > 12 hours in our EDs in NI in 2018/19. This is a year on year increase of 46% and sadly yet another record breaking systemic failure for our patients and staff.
“Again, the Department of Health must immediately prioritise increasing capacity to provide the breathing space so desperately needed to protect our patients and staff while the potential impact (negative or positive, small or large) of any proposed transformation resulting from the ongoing review of urgent and emergency care can be determined.
“The Royal College of Emergency Medicine Northern Ireland stands ready to contribute to the workstreams of the ongoing review of urgent and emergency care. However, we must be cognisant that the experience from elsewhere is that redirection, alternative pathways and urgent treatment centres have not offset the need for corrective investment to increase staffing, the number of acute hospital beds and the social care that are fundamentally required to meet the health and social care needs of our growing and ageing population.”