The Department of Health today published annual statistics on activity and waiting times at emergency care departments (ED), and activity of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) within Northern Ireland during the year ending 31 March 2016.
The statistical bulletin presents information on the total activity at ED’s in Northern Ireland during 2015/16, including information on new, unplanned and planned review attendances, waiting times at ED’s, patient transport and emergency response.
The Northern Ireland Hospital Statistics: Emergency Care (2015/16) publication is the first in the series of three ‘Hospital Statistics’ statistical publications due for release in the coming months detailing information on: inpatient activity and outpatient activity.
Latest position (2015/16):
- During 2015/16, 71.7% of attendances at Type 1 ED’s were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, compared with 93.0% at Type 2 departments, and 100.0% at Type 3 departments (Table 7)
- During the last year, 3,875 (0.5%) of the 739,150 attendances at ED’s in Northern Ireland waited longer than 12 hours to be either treated and discharged home, or admitted (Figure 8, Table 7)
- In 2015/16, 53.5% of Category A (Immediately Life Threatening) Calls received by the NIAS were responded to within 8 minutes (Table 12)
Comparison with Previous Year (2014/15 – 2015/16):
- Since 2014/15, the total number of attendances at ED’s increased by 30,670 (4.3%), from 708,480 to 739,150 in 2015/16 (Figure 1, Table 1)
- Between 2014/15 and 2015/16, performance against the 4 hour waiting times target declined by 1.3 percentage points from 77.5% to 76.2%; with performance at Type 1 departments declining by 1.3 percentage points (73.0% to 71.7%), whilst performance at Type 2 departments improved by 1.1 percentage points (91.9% to 93.0%) and performance at Type 3 departments continued to be 100.0% (Table 6 & 7)
- A higher number of patients waited longer than 12 hours in 2015/16 (3,875) compared with 2014/15 (3,170), with the Ulster reporting the most notable increase (689 to 1,560) (Figure 8, Table 10)
- Since 2014/15, the proportion of Category A (Immediately Life Threatening) Calls responded to within 8 minutes decreased by 4.2 percentage points, from 57.7% to 53.5% in 2015/16 (Figure 11, Table 14)
Five Year Comparison (2011/12 – 2015/16):
- Between 2011/12 and 2015/16, the total number of ED attendances increased by 50,309 (7.3%), from 688,841 to 739,150 (Figure 1, Table 1)
- During the last five years, performance against the 4 hour waiting times target declined by 4.0 percentage points from 80.2% in 2011/12 to 76.2% in 2015/16 (Table 9)
- Between 2011/12 and 2015/16, the number of patients waiting longer than 12 hours decreased markedly (6,336), from 10,211 to 3,875, with Antrim Area reporting the most notable improvement in performance during this period (3,041 to 1,058) (Figure 8, Table 10)
- Since 2011/12, the proportion of Category A (Immediately Life Threatening) Calls responded to within 8 minutes decreased by 19.2 percentage points, from 72.7% to 53.5% in 2015/16. However, it should be noted that the number of Category A Calls arriving at the scene of an incident increased by 23.1% during this time (Figure 11, Table 14)
The information release is published on the Departmental website.
Notes to editors:
- All information presented in this publication has been provided by HSC Trusts or downloaded by Hospital Information Branch (HIB) within an agreed timescale and validated and quality assured by 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.
- It should also be noted that from 2014/15 the way in which waiting times information is presented for the Royal Victoria ED changed, with information for the Royal Victoria ED and the Royal Victoria (ENT & RAES) service being reported separately.
- The Ministerial target for emergency care waiting times during 2015/16 stated that: “From April 2015, 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 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 Health Care 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 2015/16 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 20 June 2016. Further information on Emergency Care Statistics is available from:
Hospital Information Branch
Department of Health
Annexe 2, Castle Buildings
Stormont, BT4 3SQ
Tel: 028 90 522 504
Fax: 028 90 523 288
- Media enquiries about this press release to DOH Press Office on 9052 0575, or out of hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt