Northern Ireland news

Number of people attending A&Es rises by 12 per cent

A total of 62,350 people attended A&Es in NI in December compared to 55,635 in December 2021, a rise of 12 per cent
Marie Louise McConville

THE emergency room at Altnagelvin Area Hospital had the longest waiting time last month at almost 20 hours.

According to the Emergency Care Waiting Time Statistics, for the last quarter of 2022, which were released by the Department of Health yesterday, the average waiting time at the Derry hospital in December was 19 hours and 58 minutes. This was compared to the A&E department at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, which had the shortest waiting time at five hours and 56 minutes.

It was also found that that the number of people waiting more than 12 hours in an ED last month rose by 15.7 per cent compared to December 2021.

In total, 62,350 people attended A&Es in December compared to 55,635 in December 2021, a rise of 12 per cent.

The figures also showed a quarterly increase in attendances.

Between October and December 2022, there were a total of 189,617 attendances at EDs compared to 174, 201 for the same period in 2021, an 8.8 per cent increase.

There was also an increase in the number of people being referred to A&E by GPs, 16.4 per cent in December 2021 to 18.6 per cent in December 2022.

Of those who attended an ED between October and December last year, almost half spent less than four hours there compared to 53.6 per cent during the same quarter in 2021.

Furthermore, more than three fifths of patients who attended EDs in December commenced their treatment within two hours of being triaged, compared with 70.3 per cent in December 2021.

The number of people who left an ED before their treatment rose by two per cent last month.

A total of 12,366 calls were received by the PhoneFirst and Urgent Care Centre services in December, from patients who may previously have attended an ED.

Sixteen per cent of these calls resulted in an attendance at an ED, whilst 10,288 patients did not.

Northern Ireland news