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Emergency Care Waiting Time Statistics (October-December 2012)

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) today published statistics on the time spent waiting in emergency care departments within Northern Ireland during the months of October, November and December 2012.
Thursday, 24 January 2013

The statistical bulletin presents information on all new and unplanned review attendances during the months of October, November and December 2012. It also details the monthly performance against the DHSSPS Ministerial target for emergency waiting times at emergency care departments.

Key Points

The key findings presented in the statistics release are listed below.

Latest Position (December 2012)

  • During December 2012, 71.7% of patients attending Type 1 emergency care departments were either treated and discharged home, or admitted within 4 hours, compared with 88.7% attending Type 2 departments and 100.0% attending Type 3 departments (Table 2).
  • In December 2012, 579 (1.1%) out of a total 54,605 attendances at emergency care departments in Northern Ireland waited longer than 12 hours to be either treated and discharged home, or admitted (Table 2).

Position during last 3 months (October - December 2012)

Between October and December 2012:

  • The percentage of patients attending Type 1 emergency care departments that were either treated and discharged home or admitted within 4 hours decreased, from 76.8% to 71.7% (Figure1, Table 2).
  • In Type 2 emergency care departments, the percentage of patients attending that were either treated and discharged home or admitted within 4 hours decreased, from 93.4% to 88.7% (Figure 1, Table 2).
  • The percentage of patients attending Type 3 emergency care departments that were either treated and discharged home or admitted within 4 hours increased slightly, from 99.9% to 100.0% (Figure 1, Table 2).
  • The number of patients that waited longer than 12 hours to be either treated and discharged home, or admitted, almost doubled, from 301 to 579. In particular, performance declined notably at the Ulster between October and December, from 135 to 286 (Table 2).

Attendances

  • There were a total of 54,605 attendances at emergency care departments in Northern Ireland during December 2012, compared with 55,195 in November 2012 and 58,121 in October 2012 (Table 2).

The information release is published on the Departmental website

Notes to editors:

1. The information detailed in this statistical release is collected monthly using the Emergency Care (EC1) information return. The EC1 return records all new and unplanned review attendances in each emergency care department across Northern Ireland.

2. It should be noted that since 1st July 2011, Hospital Information Branch has been accessing patient level data on emergency care waiting times from the Regional Data Warehouse for those emergency care departments using the Northern Ireland Regional Accident & Emergency System (NIRAES). Information from emergency care departments using other administrative systems to record emergency care waiting times continues to be sourced from the aggregate EC1 return.

3. The figures detailed in this release represent the total time spent in an emergency care department from arrival until admission, transfer or discharge. All new attendances and unplanned review attendances at emergency care departments with a departure time, per calendar month are included. They do not include planned review attendances.

4. Time is measured from when a patient arrives at the emergency care department (time of arrival is recorded at registration or triage whichever is earlier (clock starts)) until the patient departs from the emergency care department (time of departure is defined as when the patient's clinical care episode is completed within the emergency care department (clock stops)).

5. There are three separate categories of emergency care facility included in this publication:

  • Type 1 Emergency Care Department - A consultant-led service with designated accommodation for the reception of emergency care patients, providing both emergency medicine and emergency surgical services on a round the clock basis.
  • Type 2 Emergency Care Department - A consultant-led service with designated accommodation for the reception of emergency care patients, but which does not provide both emergency medicine and emergency surgical services and/or has time-limited opening hours.
  • Type 3 Emergency Care Department – A minor injury unit with designated accommodation for the reception of patients with a minor injury and/or illness. It may be doctor or nurse-led. A defining characteristic of this service is that it treats at least minor injuries and/or illnesses and can be routinely accessed without appointment.

Further details on types of emergency care department are available in the publication.

6. Figures incorporate all returns and amendments received from HSC Trusts up to 23rd January 2013.

7. The current Ministerial target for emergency care waiting times in 2012/13 states that: ‘95% of patients attending Types 1, 2 or 3 A&E departments are either treated and discharged home, or admitted, within four hours of their arrival in the department, and; no patient attending any A&E department should wait longer than 12 hours either to be treated and discharged home, or admitted.’

8. Further information on Emergency Care Statistics is available from:

Hospital Information Branch
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Annexe 2, Castle Buildings
Stormont, BT4 3SQ

Tel: 028 90 522504
Fax: 028 90 523288
Email: mailto:hib@dhsspsni.gov.uk
Internet: http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index/stats_research/hospital-stats/emergency_care-3.htm

9. Media queries to DHSSPS Information Office on 028 90 520579, or out of hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be immediately returned.