The Department of Health (DoH) today published statistics on the time spent in emergency care departments (ED) throughout Northern Ireland during the months of April, May and June 2017.
The statistical bulletin presents information on all new and unplanned review attendances during April, May and June 2017. It details information on the time spent in EDs during each of these months including; the monthly performance against the DoH emergency care waiting times target for EDs and the time waited for key milestones during a patient’s journey through ED, whilst they are being cared for in an ED, including the time to triage and time to start of treatment.
This information release is published on the Departmental website.
The key findings presented in the statistical bulletin are listed below.
Attendances at Emergency Care Departments:
- During June 2017, there were 67,612 attendances at EDs, 1,472 (2.2%) more than in June 2016 (66,140).
- Of the 67,612 ED attendances during June 2017, 54,632 (80.8%) had attended a Type 1 ED, 5,584 (8.3%) attended a Type 2 ED and 7,396 (10.9%) attended a Type 3 ED.
- Between June 2016 and June 2017, attendances increased at Type 1 (1,008, 1.9%), Type 2 (352, 6.7%) and Type 3 (112, 1.5%) EDs.
Left before Treatment Complete:
- During June 2017, 2.8% of the 67,612 attendances at EDs left the ED before their treatment had been completed.
Unplanned Re-Attendances within seven Days:
- During June 2017, 3.3% of the 67,612 attendances at EDs were unplanned review attendances who had returned to the ED within seven days of their original attendance for the same condition.
Referrals by GP:
- Almost one in six (16.1%) attendances at EDs in June 2017 had been referred by a GP, slightly higher than June 2016 (15.7%).
Time Spent in Emergency Care Departments:
Performance against Targets
- Over three in four (77.8%) of patients attending a Type 1 department in June 2017 were treated and discharged, or admitted within four hours of their arrival, 7.2 percentage points more than June 2016 (70.6%).
- Over nine in 10 (90.1%) patients attending a Type 2 department in June 2017 were treated and discharged, or admitted within four hours of their arrival, 2.6 percentage points less than June 2016 (92.7%).
- All patients attending a Type 3 department were treated and discharged, or admitted within four hours of their arrival.
- Between June 2016 and June 2017, the number of attendances waiting longer than 12 hours increased slightly from 280 to 296, accounting for 0.4% of all attendances in June 2017.
- Over four in five (83.3%) patients attending EDs in June 2017 commenced their treatment within two hours of being triaged, 5.0 percentage points higher than June 2016 (78.3%).
Time to Triage:
- The median waiting time from arrival at an ED to triage (initial assessment) by a medical professional was seven minutes during June 2017, with 95% of patients having their care needs assessed for the first time by a medical professional within 26 minutes of arrival.
Time to Start of Treatment:
- During June 2017, the median waiting time from triage to the start of treatment by a medical professional was 39 minutes, with 95% of patients receiving treatment within 3 hours 12 minutes of them having their care needs assessed for the first time.
Total Time in Emergency Care Department:
- The median time spent in a Type 1 ED by patients who were discharged home (not admitted) was 2 hours 13 minutes in June 2017, 12 minutes less than the time spent in an ED during the same month last year (2 hours 25 minutes).
- The median time spent in a Type 1 ED for patients admitted to hospital was 4 hours 13 minutes in June 2017, 1 hour 3 minutes less than the same month last year (5 hours 16 minutes).
- During June 2017, Causeway reported the longest median time spent in an ED (5 hours 40 minutes) from arrival to admission to hospital, whilst the RBHSC reported the shortest median time of 2 hours 48 minutes.
Notes to editors:
- This statistical bulletin reports the total time spent in an ED from arrival until admission, transfer or discharge for all new and unplanned review attendances at emergency care departments across NI. The figures do not include planned review attendances.
- Time is measured from when a patient arrives at the ED (time of arrival is recorded at registration or triage whichever is earlier (clock starts)) until the patient departs the ED (time of departure is defined as when the patient's clinical care episode is completed within the ED (clock stops)).
- The current Ministerial targets for emergency care waiting times in 2017/18 state that
‘95% of patients attending any Type 1, 2 or 3 emergency care department are either treated and discharged home, or admitted, within four hours of their arrival in the department; and no patient attending any emergency care department should wait longer than 12 hours.’
‘By March 2018, at least 80% of patients to have commenced treatment, following triage, within 2 hours.’
- Information which presents a summary of the emergency care clinical quality indicators for Northern Ireland has also been included in this release. This information is not National Statistics but has been included to provide a more comprehensive and balanced view of the care delivered by EDs and reflects the experience of patients and the timeliness of the care they receive.
- Readers are advised to be cautious when making direct comparisons between Northern Ireland and other UK Jurisdictions as waiting times may not be measured in a comparable manner. It should also be noted that the way in which emergency care services are delivered differs between UK jurisdictions. This means that the number and types of patients included in the figures may differ between countries. In particular, the 12-hour waiting time information published by England and Northern Ireland is not equivalent and should not be compared. Further information on comparability between Northern Ireland and other UK Jurisdictions are included in the ‘Emergency Care Waiting Time Statistics – Additional Guidance’ booklet.
- There are three separate categories of emergency care facility included in this publication:
Type 1 Department - A consultant-led service with designated accommodation for the reception of emergency care patients, providing both emergency medicine and emergency surgical services 24 hours a day.
Type 2 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 Department - A minor injury unit with designated accommodation for the reception of patients with a minor injury and/or illness. It may be a 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 an appointment.
- Figures incorporate all returns and amendments received from HSC Trusts up to 17 July 2017.
- Further information on Emergency Care Statistics is available from:
Hospital Information Branch
Department of Health
- Media queries to DoH Information Office on 028 9052 0579 or out of hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be immediately returned.
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