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RCEM calls for new Northern Ireland Executive to prioritise Emergency Care

8 February 2024

As the newly reconvened Northern Ireland Executive gets back to business, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has called for it to put Resuscitating Emergency Care in the country at the top of its ‘to-do’ list.

On Saturday (3 February) Northern Ireland’s devolved government reconvened after a two-year hiatus, appointing Michelle O’Neill as first minister and Robin Swann as Health Minister.

Data obtained by RCEM in November through a Freedom of Information Request to The Department of Health revealed that between January and September last year 36,025 people waited for 24 hours or longer in an A&E.

The latest performance data also shows that between July and September 2023, on average, one in six (16.6%) patients waited more than 12 hours in an A&E – the worst figures on record. Data covering October to January is due out next week (13 February 2024).

With this backdrop RCEM is urging the new government to form a comprehensive recovery plan for Urgent and Emergency Care for the region.

RCEM’s Vice President Northern Ireland, Dr Russell McLaughlin said: “Addressing Northern Ireland’s crisis in Urgent and Emergency Care must be at the top of the new government’s list of priorities. If the care of the most critically ill people in the country is not a priority – what is?

“No-one should be waiting 24 hours or longer to be seen at A&E. Our members and their colleagues are doing their upmost to provide quality care, but they just do not have the resources they need. They are burnt-out and demoralised.

“The establishment of the new executive should be a turning point. It is a chance for those in power to give the people of Northern Ireland the quality of healthcare they deserve.

“In the nearly two years that we have not had a government, RCEM has continued to campaign for the rights of emergency medical staff and public healthcare.

“We are arranging a meeting with the new health minister and will continue to work tirelessly to #ResusitateEmergencyCare in Northern Ireland and across the UK.”

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