Officials Apologise As A&E Waiting Times Grow

Health officials have apologised after over 25,000 people waited more than 12 hours for treatment at Emergency Departments in Northern Ireland last year.

Figures released by the Department of Health (DoH) today reveal that of the 822,846 patients who attended A&E, 25,326 of them waited longer than 12 hours to be either admitted or treated and discharged home.

Officials said the growing numbers of people waiting too long highlights the need for a revised model of care.

The amount of people faced with the same wait in the previous year was totalled at 17,347, with the highest increases recorded at the Ulster and Craigavon hospitals.

The issue can be seen to have grown steadily over recent years, with numbers waiting over 12 hours increasing markedly from 3,170 in 2014/15. Performance against the four hour waiting time target in the last five years also declined by 7.6% from 77.5% to 69.9%.
News Image
Addressing the statistics, the DoH said it is a stark illustration of the pressures facing Emergency Departments and the wider health and social care system.

The statement reads: "We must again apologise to the significant and growing numbers of patients who have been waiting too long in our EDs.

"Clearly, the current model of care – the way we organise urgent and emergency services together with the flow of patients through our hospitals from admission to discharge – needs to change.

"Demand for care continues to increase and pressures traditionally experienced at winter time are now present throughout the year."

A health service summit, organised as part of the Department's ongoing review into urgent and emergency care, will be held on Tuesday 25 June. 160 people representing clinicians, patients and the health and social care sector will confer to help shape a public consultation planned for later this year.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 June 2019
Waiting Lists For Mental Health Services Rise
An Ulster Unionist MLA has warned that growing delays in accessing mental health treatment could be damaging for children and young people in Northern Ireland.
05 July 2019
Stormont Talks In Danger Of Losing Momentum
As the UK Government moves to delay the legal requirement to call an Assembly election in Northern Ireland, the ongoing talks process aimed at restoring devolution is in serious danger of losing momentum, an Alliance MLA has warned.
17 June 2019
NI Majority Not Prejudiced Towards Transgender People
Over 70% of people in Northern Ireland have described themselves as not prejudiced towards the transgender community, a research study has revealed.
02 April 2003
Rise in transplant waiting list sparks donor appeal
The latest figures from the office of the Transplant Co-ordinator in Belfast City Hospital have revealed that the number of people in the province awaiting organ transplants has risen. Some 240 people are currently waiting for major organ transplants such as heart, kidney, liver or lungs - an increase of almost 60 people on this time last year.
02 March 2006
Inpatient waiting lists reach ten-year low
Waiting lists for inpatients and day-patients have reached their lowest in ten years, Health Minister Shaun Woodward revealed today. The number of people waiting over a year for appointments has almost dropped by 50% over the past quarter.