Skip the NI Direct Bar
Skip navigation

Emergency Care Waiting Time Statistics (January – March 2014)

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 January, February and March 2014.
Thursday, 24 April 2014

The statistical bulletin presents information on all new and unplanned review attendances during the months of January, February and March 2014. 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 (March 2014):

  • During March 2014, 70.5% of patients attending Type 1 emergency care departments were either treated and discharged home, or admitted within four hours, compared with 87.0% attending Type 2 departments and 100.0% attending Type 3 departments (Table 2).
  • In March 2014, 410 (0.7%) out of a total 60,334 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 three months (January - March 2014):

Between January and March 2014:

  • The percentage of patients attending Type 1 emergency care departments that were either treated and discharged home or admitted within four hours decreased, from 71.8% to 70.5% (Figure 1, Table 2).
  • In Type 2 emergency care departments, the percentage of patients attending that were either treated and discharged home or admitted within four hours increased slightly, from 86.2% to 87.0% (Figure 1, Table 2).
  • The percentage of patients attending Type 3 emergency care departments that were either treated and discharged home or admitted within four hours remained at 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, increased markedly (253), from 157 in January 2014 to 410 in March 2014. (Table 2).

Position compared to same month last year (March 2013 – March 2014):

Between March 2013 and March 2014:

  • In Type 1 emergency care departments, the percentage of patients attending that were either treated and discharged home or admitted within four hours increased by 4.0 percentage points, from 66.5% to 70.5% (Figure 4, Table 4).
  • In Type 2 emergency care departments, the percentage of patients attending that were either treated and discharged home or admitted within four hours increased by 4.1 percentage points, from 82.9% to 87.0% (Figure 7, Table 6).
  • In Type 3 emergency care departments, the percentage of patients attending that were either treated and discharged home or admitted within four hours remained at 100.0% (Table 8).
  • The number of patients that waited longer than 12 hours to be either treated and discharged home, or admitted, decreased markedly (607, 59.7%) from 1,017 to 410, with performance improving markedly at the Ulster Hospital, from 397 to 85 (table 9).

Attendances

  • There were a total of 60,334 attendances at emergency care departments in Northern Ireland during March 2014, compared with 51,711 in February 2014 and 55,302 in January 2014 (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 1 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 14 April 2014.
  7. The current Ministerial target for emergency care waiting times in 2013/14 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.’

    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: hib@dhsspsni.gov.uk
    Internet: www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index/stats_research/hospital-stats/emergency_care-3.htm
  8. Media queries to DHSSPS Information Office on 028 9052 0579, or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be immediately returned.