24 October 2019
RCEM Northern Ireland: “our patients and staff continued to experience unprecedented risks to quality of care and patient safety throughout the summer months.”
Figures released today by the Department of Health Northern Ireland shows that Emergency Department performance continues to deteriorate.
Data for the second quarter of this year shows that in September 2019 only 59.6% of patients attending Type 1 (major) Emergency Departments were seen, treated and discharged or admitted to hospital within 4 hours of their arrival. This is a year on year decrease of 6.4% compared to September 2018.
In the second quarter of this year, 8,258 patients spent more than 12 hours in Emergency Departments. This is an increase of 67.34% when compared to the second quarter of 2018. In the first six months of this financial year, a staggering 18,046 patients spent more than 12 hours in Emergency Departments.
Dr Ian Crawford, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Northern Ireland, said: “Today’s data shows that, unsurprisingly, our patients and staff continued to experience unprecedented risks to quality of care and patient safety throughout the summer months. As we approach the winter months from our lowest ever baseline, we must expect these risks to increase further as even more patients spend even longer in even more crowded Emergency Departments.
“As I understand it, there is no additional funding forthcoming this year to support winter preparedness. In practical terms, it is simply impossible for our Emergency Department teams to be expected to deliver more with less year on year.
“Those leading the ongoing review of urgent and emergency care must be cognisant that seeking to do things differently or more efficiently will 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.”