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RCEM calls for NI Executive to reconvene to get a grip of ‘challenging and demoralising’ pressures on A&Es

1 August 2023

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has responded to April – June 2023 Emergency Department performance data for Northern Ireland.

The figures published by the Department of Health Northern Ireland show:

  • There were 172,931 attendances at Type 1 (major EDs) A&E services in Northern Ireland for Quarter 1 2023/24, 4% more than the same period the year before.
  • On average 45% of patients attending major A&E services were seen, admitted, transferred, or discharged within four-hours
    • This is the worst Quarter 1 performance on record.
  • 8% of attendances at major A&E services that spent 12-hours or more in an A&E department, equal to more than one in every six patients.
    • This is the worst Quarter 1 performance on record.
  • The median time patients spent in a Type 1 ED by patients admitted to hospital was 13 hours 11 minutes in June 2023, 36 minutes more than the same month the previous year.
  • In June 2023 admitted patients also spent more than four times longer in an A&E department than those who were discharged home.

Commenting on the data, RCEM NI Vice President Dr Russell McLaughlin, said:

“These figures provide a depressing yet accurate reflection of emergency healthcare in Northern Ireland. Patients are continuing to face extremely long waits, with no sign of things improving any time soon.

“Our members are working tirelessly to provide the best care possible in these increasingly difficult times, but they lack the beds, resources, and staff they need, and they can only stretch themselves so far. It is a challenging and demoralising situation.

“Action to improve this unacceptable situation is urgently required but without a functioning Executive, we continue to head towards winter which is an iceberg looming on the horizon.

“The Northern Ireland Executive must reconvene to get a grip of the situation and #ResuscitateEmergencyCare before we head into the inevitable increased pressure of winter.”

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