Drop in A&E attendances last September
THE number of people attending hospital A&E departments last September dropped by almost 20 per cent compared to the previous year, according to latest figures.
Quarterly statistics were released today by the Department of Health for the period between July and September, when the rates of coronavirus infection dramatically dipped in Northern Ireland.
While there are severe pressures on emergency care currently, with ambulances queuing outside many hospitals to admit patients, the latest data shows reduced demands over the summer and early autumn period.
There were 58,543 attendances across the north's A&E unit last September, 12,764 (17.9%) less than the same period in 2019.
Craigavon Area reported the longest waiting time from arrival to admission, at13 hours 46 minutes, while the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children reported the shortest time at 4 hours and 10 minutes.
Last weekend, the worst pressures of the pandemic were experienced in hospitals resulting in health trusts issuing appeals on social media to off-duty staff to come in and assist their colleagues.
While health chiefs have urged the public to only use A&E if necessary, they have also stressed that people with serious symptoms - especially non-Covid related 0 should not be afraid to come to departments for urgent care.