The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) today published statistics on the time spent in emergency care departments (ED) within Northern Ireland during the months of January, February and March 2016.
The statistical bulletin presents information on all new and unplanned review attendances during January, February and March 2016. It details information on the time spent in emergency care departments during each of these months including; the monthly performance against the DHSSPS emergency care waiting times target for ED’s 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.
Attendances at Emergency Care Departments:
- during March 2016, there were 66,799 attendances at ED’s in Northern Ireland, 5,311 (8.6%) more than in March 2015 (61,488)
- of the 66,799 ED attendances during March 2016, 55,044 (82.4%) had attended a Type 1 department, 5,475 (8.2%) attended a Type 2 department and 6,280 (9.4%) attended a Type 3 department
- between March 2015 and March 2016, ED attendances increased at Type 1 (4,455, 12.5%), Type 2 (607, 7.4%) and Type 3 (249, 4.1%) ED’s
Left before Treatment Complete:
- during March 2016, 4.3% of the 66,799 attendances at ED’s were recorded as having left the department before their treatment had been completed
Unplanned Re-Attendances Within 7 Days:
- during March 2016, 3.3% of the 66,799 attendances at ED’s were unplanned review attendances within 7 days of the original attendance for the same condition
Referrals by GP:
- one in six (16.7%) of attendances at ED’s in March 2016 had been referred by a GP, slightly less than March 2015 (17.0%)
Time Spent in Emergency Care Departments:
Performance against target
- over two thirds (68.6%) of patients attending a Type 1 department in March 2016 were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, a slight decline from March 2015 (69.7%); however, during this period there was an 8.8% (4,455) increase in attendances at Type 1 ED’s
- 92.3% of patients attending a Type 2 department in March 2016 were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, slightly higher than March 2015 (92.0%)
- all patients attending a Type 3 department were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival
- during March 2016, 666 patients waited longer than 12 hours from arrival to be either treated and discharged home, or admitted, higher than the same month last year (613); however, during this period there was a 8.6% (5,311) increase in attendances
Time to Triage:
- the median waiting time from arrival at an ED to triage (initial assessment) by a medical professional was 9 minutes during March 2016, with 95 per cent of patients having their care needs assessed for the first time by a medical professional within 37 minutes of arrival
Time to Start of Treatment:
- during March 2016, the median waiting time from triage to the start of treatment by a medical professional was 48 minutes, with 95 per cent of patients receiving treatment within 3 hours 42 minutes of them having their care needs assessed for the first time
- almost four in five (79.4%) patients attending ED’s commenced their treatment within 2 hours of being triaged
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 31 minutes in March 2016, similar to the time spent in an ED during the same month last year (2 hours 34 minutes)
- in March 2016, 95 per cent of attendances were discharged home within 6 hours 29 minutes of their arrival at the Type 1 ED, similar to the time taken in March 2015 (6 hours 31 minutes)
- the median time spent in a Type 1 ED for patients admitted to hospital was 5 hours 29 minutes in March 2016, 22 minutes longer than the same month last year
- Antrim Area reported the longest median time spent (7 hours 10 minutes) from arrival to admission to hospital, whilst RBHSC reported the shortest median time of 3 hours 25 minutes
Notes to editors:
1. 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 Northern Ireland. The figures do not include planned review attendances.
2. 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)).
3. The current Ministerial target for emergency care waiting times in 2015/16 states 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.’
4. Information which presents a summary of the emergency care clinical quality indicators for Northern Ireland has also been included in this released. This information is not National Statistics but has been included to provide a more comprehensive and balanced view of the care delivered by ED’s in Northern Ireland and reflects the experience of patients and the timeliness of the care they received.
5. 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:
6. 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.
7. Figures incorporate all returns and amendments received from HSC Trusts up to 20th April 2016.
8. Further information on Emergency Care Statistics is available from:
Hospital Information Branch
Department of Health
Annexe 2, Castle Buildings
Stormont, BT4 3SQ
Tel: 028 90 522504
Fax: 028 90 523288
9. Media queries to DHSSPS Information Office on 028 9052 0074, or out of hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be immediately returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt
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