Northern Ireland news

A&E departments see 12-hour wait numbers increase

Antrim Area and the Ulster (pictured) reported the highest numbers of patients waiting over the 12 hours

THE number of patients waiting longer than 12 hours in hospital emergency departments has almost doubled.

Between September 2017 and September this year, the figure increased from 919 to 1,716.

The Department of Health has published statistics on emergency departments during July, August and September.

They detail information, including the monthly performance against department targets.

There were 201,150 attendances during the quarter ending September 30 2018, 3.6 per cent (6,978) more than during the same quarter in 2017 (194,172).

The Royal Victoria (8,022) and the Ulster (7,904) were the busiest emergency departments during September.

Also in September, 3.6 per cent of all attendances left before their treatment was complete. The Mater reported the highest percentage.

The target is that no patient should have to wait more than 12 hours.

In addition, 95 per cent of patients attending any type of A&E department should either be treated and discharged home, or admitted, within four hours of arrival.

During the period, almost three quarters (71.3 per cent) of patients were treated and discharged or admitted within the four hour target - 6.7 percentage points less than the same quarter last year.

The figures also showed that the number waiting longer than 12 hours increased from 919 to 1,716 accounting for 2.6 per cent of all attendances in September 2018.

Lengthy waits increased at every hospital except Altnagelvin in Derry and the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (RBHSC).

At the Royal Victoria, the numbers waiting half a day or longer jumped from 64 to 203, from 30 to 152 at Causeway and 73 to 243 at Craigavon Area.

The RBHSC was the only one to achieve the 12-hour target. It also reported the best performance against the four hour target.

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