The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety today published annual statistics on activity and waiting times at emergency care departments, and activity of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service within Northern Ireland during the year ending 31 March 2015.
The statistical bulletin presents information on the total activity at emergency care departments in Northern Ireland during 2014/15, including information on new, unplanned and planned review attendances, waiting times at emergency care departments, patient transport and emergency response.
The Northern Ireland Hospital Statistics: Emergency Care (2014/15) publication is the first in the series of four ‘Hospital Statistics’ statistical publications due for release in the coming months detailing information on: inpatient activity; outpatient activity; mental health & learning disability.
Latest Position (2014/15)
- During 2014/15, 73.8% of attendances at Type 1 emergency care departments were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, compared with 88.7% at Type 2 departments, and 100.0% at Type 3 departments (Table 7).
- In March 2015, 3,170 (0.4%) of the 708,480 attendances at emergency care departments in Northern Ireland waited longer than 12 hours to be either treated and discharged home, or admitted (Figure 8, Table 7).
- During 2014/15, 57.7% of Category A (Immediately Life Threatening) calls received by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) were responded to within 8 minutes (Table 12).
Comparison with Previous Year (2013/14 – 2014/15)
- Since 2013/14, the total number of attendances at emergency care departments increased by 11,199 (1.5%), from 727,466 to 738,665 in 2014/15 (Figure 1, Table 1).
- Between 2013/14 and 2014/15, regional performance against the 4 hour waiting times target declined by 0.6 percentage points from 78.1% to 77.5%, with performance at Type 1 departments declining by 0.4 percentage points (74.2% to 73.8%), performance at Type 2 departments improving by 1.0 percentage point (87.7% to 88.7%) and performance at Type 3 departments continuing to be 100% (Table 6 & 7).
- A higher number of patients waited longer than 12 hours in 2014/15 (3,170) compared with 2013/14 (3,109), with the Royal Victoria reporting the most notable increase (456 to 1,352) (Figure 8, Table 10).
- Since 2013/14, the proportion of Category A (Immediately Life Threatening) Calls responded to within 8 minutes decreased by 9.9 percentage points, from 67.6% to 57.7% in 2014/15 (Figure 12, Table 14).
Five Year Comparison (2010/11 – 2014/15)
- Between 2010/11 and 2014/15, the total number of attendances at emergency care departments increased by 7,656 (1.0%), from 731,009 to 738,665 (Figure 1, Table 1).
- Since 2010/11, regional performance against the 4 hour waiting times target declined by 4.5 percentage points from 82.0% to 77.5% in 2014/15 (Table 9).
- Between 2010/11 and 2014/15, the number of patients waiting longer than 12 hours decreased markedly (4,209), from 7,379 to 3,170, with Antrim Area reporting the most notable improvement in performance (2,440 to 663) (Figure 8, Table 10).
- Since 2010/11, the proportion of Category A (Immediately Life Threatening) Calls responded to within 8 minutes decreased by 12.0 percentage points, from 69.7% to 57.7% in 2014/15 (Figure 12, Table 14).
Notes to editors:
- All information presented in this publication has been provided by HSC Trusts or downloaded by Hospital Information Branch within an agreed timescale and validated and quality assured by Hospital Information Branch (HIB) prior to release. At the end of each financial year HIB verify with HSC Trusts that the information downloaded / submitted during the year is consistent and up to date. Further information can be found in Technical Notes (page 8) and Appendix 5 & 6 of the Hospital Statistics: Emergency Care publication.
- 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 5 (page 40) of this statistical publication.
- 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 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.
Readers should note recent changes to the provision of emergency care services, in particular the temporary closure of Armagh Community and Whiteabbey minor injury units on 17 November 2014 and 1 December 2014 respectively. Further details of changes to emergency care provision are listed in Appendix 3 of the Hospital Statistics: Emergency Care publication.
- It should also be noted that there has been a slight change in the way attendances and waiting time information is presented for the Royal Victoria emergency care department, as information for the Royal Victoria emergency care department and the Royal Victoria (ENT & RAES) service are now reported separately.
- The Ministerial target for emergency care waiting times during 2014/15 stated that: ‘From April 2014, 95% of patients attending any Type 1, 2 or 3 Emergency Department should be either treated and discharged home, or admitted, within four hours of their arrival in the Department; and no patient attending any Emergency Department should wait longer than 12 hours.’
- With regards to the activity of the NIAS, readers are asked to note recent changes to the way emergency calls are recorded, when making comparisons over time and by category of call. In particular, urgent patient journeys were replaced by Healthcare Professional (HCP) calls on the 14th June 2014 and are now classified as Category C calls. Further details of changes to Patient Transport & Emergency Response are listed in Appendix 4 of the Hospital Statistics: Emergency Care publication.
- The Ministerial target for ambulance response times during 2014/15 stated that: “An average of 72.5% of Category A (life threatening) calls should be responded to within eight minutes, 67.5% in each Local Commissioning Group (LCG) Area.”
- All information has been validated with HSC Trusts and the NIAS, and incorporates all returns and amendments received up to 22nd June 2015.
Further information on Emergency Care Statistics is available from Hospital Information Branch.
- Media queries to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 90 520567 or out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 99 715 440, and your call will be returned.
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