The Department of Health (DoH) today published statistics on the time spent in emergency care departments (ED) throughout Northern Ireland during the months of October, November and December 2017.
The statistical bulletin presents information on all new and unplanned review attendances during October, November and December 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.
Attendances at Emergency Care Departments:
- During December 2017, there were 65,204 attendances at EDs, 3,111 (5.0%) more than in December 2016 (62,093)
- Of the 65,204 ED attendances during December 2017, 54,942 (84.3%) had attended a Type 1 ED, 4,975 (7.6%) attended a Type 2 ED and 5,287 (8.1%) attended a Type 3 ED
- Between December 2016 and December 2017, attendances increased at Type 1 (2,976, 5.7%) and Type 2 (185, 3.9%) EDs, but decreased slightly at Type 3 EDs (50, 0.9%)
Left before Treatment Complete:
- During December 2017, 4.4% of the 65,204 ED attendances were unplanned review attendances who had returned to the same ED within 7 days of their original attendance for the same condition
Unplanned Re-Attendances within 7 Days:
- During December 2017, 3.5% of the 65,204 ED attendances were unplanned review attendances who had returned to the same ED within 7 days of their original attendance for the same condition
Referrals by GP:
- Over one in six (17.2%) attendances at EDs in December 2017 had been referred by a GP, 0.5 percentage points lower than December 2016 (17.7%)
Time Spent in Emergency Care Departments:
Performance against Targets:
- Almost two thirds (63.1%) of patients attending a Type 1 ED in December 2017 were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, 2.3 percentage points lower than December 2016 (65.4%)
- Over eight in ten (84.5%) patients attending a Type 2 ED in December 2017 were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, similar to December 2016 (84.6%)
- Over nine in ten (99.9%) patients attending a Type 3 ED were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival
- Between December 2016 and December 2017, the number of attendances waiting longer than 12 hours increased markedly from 888 to 2,372, accounting for 3.6% of all attendances in December 2017
- Over three quarters (78.2%) of patients attending EDs commenced their treatment within 2 hours of being triaged in December 2017, slightly lower than December 2016 (80.3%)
Time to Start of Treatment:
- During December 2017, the median waiting time from triage to the start of treatment by a medical professional was 48 minutes, with 95 percent of patients receiving treatment within 4 hours 5 minutes 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 44 minutes in December 2017, 9 minutes longer than the same month last year (2 hours 35 minutes)
- The median time spent in a Type 1 ED for patients Admitted to hospital was 6 hours 35 minutes in December 2017, 19 minutes more than the same month last year (6 hours 16 minutes)
- During December 2017, Causeway reported the longest median time spent in an ED (8 hours 18 minutes) from arrival to admission to hospital, whilst the RBHSC reported the shortest median time (3 hours 38 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 NI. 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 targets for emergency care waiting times in 2017/18 state that:
‘From April 2017, 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.’
4. 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.
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. The DoH have liaised with colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales to clarify differences between the emergency care waiting times reported for each administration and have produced a guidance document to provide readers with a clear understanding of these differences.
7. 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.
8. Figures incorporate all returns and amendments received from HSC Trusts up to 18th January 2018.
9. Further information on Emergency Care Statistics is available from:
Hospital Information Branch
Department of Health
Annexe 2, Castle Buildings
10. For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health Press Office on 028 9052 0575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt
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