25 July 2019
Figures released today by the Department of Health Northern Ireland shows the continued strain faced by Emergency Departments across the country.
Data for the first quarter of this year (April-June 2019) shows that only 60.7% of patients attending Type 1 (major) Emergency Departments were seen, treated and discharged or admitted to hospital within four hours of their arrival. This is a decrease of 6.7% from the first quarter of 2018.
In the first quarter of this year, 9,816 patients spent less than 12 hours in Emergency Departments. This is an increase of 150.0% when compared to the first quarter of 2018.
Dr Ian Crawford, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Northern Ireland, said: “Staff working in Emergency Departments in Northern Ireland are fighting an uphill battle to provide excellent care to our patients in the face of increasing demand and reduced capacity in our hospitals. Our staff and patients deserve better.”
“Those leading the review of urgent and emergency care must learn the lessons from other parts of the UK. Initiatives aimed at directing people away from Emergency Departments do not address increasing demand and the needs of our growing and ageing population.”
“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.”