The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) today published statistics on the time spent in emergency care departments within Northern Ireland during the months of October, November and December 2015.
The statistical bulletin presents information on all new and unplanned review attendances during the months of October, November and December 2015. It also details the monthly performance against the DHSSPS Ministerial target for emergency waiting times at emergency care departments. Information has also been released for the first time on the waiting times for key milestones during a patient’s journey, whilst they are being cared for in the emergency care department, 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.
Performance against Emergency Care Waiting Times Target:
- During December 2015, there were 58,958 attendances at emergency care departments in Northern Ireland, 2,302 (4.1%) more than in December 2014 (56,656).
- Of the 58,958 emergency care attendances during December 2015, 49,332 (83.7%) had attended a Type 1 department, 4,598 (7.8%) attended a Type 2 department and 5,028 (8.5%) attended a Type 3 department (Table 2).
- Between December 2014 and December 2015, emergency care attendances increased at Type 1 (1,723, 3.6%), Type 2 (317, 7.4%) and Type 3 (262, 5.5%) departments (Figure 10, Table 9).
- 70.9% of patients attending a Type 1 department in December 2015 were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, lower than December 2014 (72.8%); however, during this period there was a 3.6% (1,723) increase in attendances at Type 1 departments (Figure 4, Table 4).
- 93.1% of patients attending a Type 2 department in December 2015 were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, lower than December 2014 (94.0%); however, during this period there was a 7.4% (317) increase in attendances at Type 2 departments (Figure 7, Table 6).
- All patients attending a Type 3 department were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival (Figure 9, Table 8).
- During December 2015, 294 patients waited longer than 12 hours from arrival to be either treated and discharged home, or admitted, higher than the same month last year (91); however, during this period there was a 4.0% (2,302) increase in attendances (Table 4).
Summary of Patient Journey’s in Emergency Care Departments (December 2015) can be found on the DHSSPS website.
Time to Triage:
- The median waiting time from arrival at an emergency care department to triage (initial assessment) by a medical professional was 8 minutes during December 2015, with 95 per cent of patients having their care needs assessed for the first time by a medical professional within 32 minutes of arrival.
Time to Start of Treatment:
- During December 2015, the median waiting time from triage to the start of their treatment by a medical professional was 42 minutes, with 95 per cent of patients receiving treatment within 3 hours 29 minutes of them having their care needs assessed for the first time.
Total Time in Emergency Care Department:
- The median waiting time for patients who did not require to be admitted to hospital was 2 hours 3 minutes in December 2015, with 95 per cent of patients discharged home leaving the emergency care department within 5 hours 51 minutes of arrival.
- The median waiting time in an emergency care department for patients admitted to hospital was 4 hours 37 minutes in December 2015, with 95 per cent of patients admitted leaving the emergency care department within 11 hours 7 minutes of arrival.
Left before Treatment Complete:
- During December 2015, 3.7% of the 58,958 attendances at emergency care departments were recorded as having left the department before their treatment had been completed.
Unplanned Re-Attendances Within 7 Days:
- During December 2015, 3.2% of the 58,958 attendances at emergency care departments were unplanned review attendances within 7 days of the original attendance for the same condition.
Notes to editors:
- Information presented in this statistical bulletin report the total time spent in an emergency care department 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.
- 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 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).
- Information which presents a summary of the emergency care clinical quality indicators for Northern Ireland has also been released for the first time. This information provides a comprehensive and balanced view of the care delivered by emergency care departments in Northern Ireland each month, and reflects the experience of patients and the timeliness of the care they received.
- 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 is detailed in Appendix 3 (page 47) of this statistical bulletin.
- 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 22nd January 2016.
- 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.’
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
- Media queries to DHSSPS Information Office on 028 90 520579, or out of hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be immediately returned.
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