The Department of Health in Northern Ireland recently published the annual data pertaining to activity and waiting times at emergency care departments (EDs) in the country.
The 'Northern Ireland Hospital Statistics: Emergency Care (2018/19)' report will be followed by two other publications on hospital statistics in the coming months with further information on inpatient and outpatient activity.
Key points from the report:
- In 2018-2019, the number of new and unplanned review attendances treated and discharged, or admitted, within four hours of their arrival at Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3 EDs were 64.7 per cent, 83.8 per cent and 99.8 per cent, respectively.
- In 2018-2019, 3.1 per cent of patients had a waiting time >12 hours for either treated and discharge or admission.
- In 2018-2019, 79.2% of patients attending EDs had their treatment initiated within two hours of triage.
- The total number of attendances at EDs in 2018-2019 rose by 3.3 per cent since 2017-2018 and by 15.1 per cent since 2014-2015.
- The overall performance against the target of four-hour waiting time in 2018/2019 dropped by 3.5 percentage points since 2017-2018 and by 7.6 percentage points since 2014-2015.
- The number of patients with a waiting time >12 hours in 2018-2019, 2017-2018 and 2014-2015 were 25,326, 17,347 and 3,170, respectively.
- In 2018-2019, there was an increase of 1.4 percentage points in the proportion of attendances referred by a GP since 2014-2015.
Caution should be exercised when comparing Northern Ireland with other UK Jurisdictions, as the measurement of waiting times may not comparable across the different jurisdictions. Additionally, the way in which emergency care services are delivered also differs across UK jurisdictions.