Waiting times at Northern Ireland’s emergency departments remain below target for the four hour treatment window, but minor injury units continue to have an almost 100 per cent record.
The latest statistics on emergency care waiting times show that almost three quarters of patients attending a 24 hour emergency department in Northern Ireland in June were seen to within four hours.
At 74.4 per cent, the level is almost 20 per cent lower than the current Ministerial target for emergency care waiting times in 2015/16. This states that “95 per cent of patients attending any Type 1, 2 or 3 Emergency Care Department are either treated and discharged home, or admitted, within four hours of their arrival in the department…”
It is a decrease of 0.7 percentage points compared to June 2014. An improvement has been made in this category, however, as after the first quarter of 2015 it stood at 70.1 per cent.
For Type 2 emergency departments ie those with limited opening hours and/or no emergency medicine and emergency surgical services, the rate also fell below the Ministerial target at 90.4 per cent. This is a slight decrease of 0.1 per cent on the previous quarter, but an increase of 3.0 percentage points on June last year.
Only the minor injury units (department type 3) met, and exceeded the target. At 99.9 per cent, almost all of those attending the units were either treated and discharged home, or admitted, within four hours of their arrival. There was no real change from quarter one.
Meanwhile, from April to June, emergency department attendances increased by 4 per cent. The number of patients waiting longer than 12 hours almost halved from 456 to 236 with Antrim Area Hospital recording the biggest improvement. Compared to last year’s figures, the Royal Victoria Hospital improved best.