21 June 2019
Responding to the latest Emergency Care Waiting Time Statistics for 2018/19, Dr Ian Crawford, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Northern Ireland, said: “The publication today of the annual report for 2018/19 formally confirms what we highlighted following the publication of the final quarter’s data some seven weeks ago, namely that a staggering 25,326 patients spent over 12 hours in our EDs in NI in 2018/19.
“This is as a direct consequence of inadequate / reducing capacity in the face of increasing demand and is a year on year increase of 46%.
“Despite our Department of Health ‘transforming’ health and social care since at least 2011 – and with only four days to go until the summit described as a key stage of the urgent and emergency care review – the situation in our Emergency Departments in Northern Ireland is worse than ever for patients and staff.
“Those leading the ongoing review of urgent and emergency care 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.
“On 4 April 2019 our Department of Health announced a summit as the first of two key stages of the review of urgent and emergency care. With this summit now only 4 days away, our patients and staff continue to await tangible improvement at the coal face. They deserve this and more.”