Northern Ireland

Emergency department waiting times double at NI hospitals

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The number of patients waiting over 12 hours at emergency departments in Northern Ireland has more than doubled in a year.

The Department of Health statistics show that 288 people waited more than 12 hours for a bed, compared with 125 in November 2014.

The figures vary widely between hospitals in Northern Ireland.

At the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) in Belfast, figures improved significantly.

Only three people were recorded as waiting more than 12 hours, compared with 79 the year before.

However, the numbers show that Antrim Area Hospital's waiting times have deteriorated, from 13 last year to 170 in 2015.

At the Ulster Hospital in Belfast, numbers jumped from three in 2014, to 93 last month.

The total number of patients attending hospitals has also increased, rising from 55,000 in November 2014 to 60,000 this year.


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The Health and Social Care Board said it was working with the trusts to provide better emergency care services over winter.

The board said it has invested more than £10m pounds to improve patient flow, as well as the development of minor injury streams in all emergency departments in Northern Ireland.

It said that while it was unacceptable that anyone had to wait more than 12 hours, steady progress had been made to reduce waiting times since 2011/12 when over 10,000 people waited more than 12 hours.

The board added that individual trusts, including the Belfast trust, had made improvements to waiting times.

The numbers

Patients waiting over 12 hours at emergency departments

  • Royal Victoria Hospital: 3 (down from 79)
  • Antrim Area Hospital: 170 (up from 13)
  • Ulster Hospital: 93 (up from 3)
  • Mater: 6 (down from 30)
  • Northern Ireland in total: 288 (up from 125)

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