Northern Ireland

A&E 12-hour wait numbers 'tripled' in December

A AND E
Image caption At the Antrim Area Hospital, 198 people waited for at least 12 hours before being seen

Almost 900 patients faced waits of more than 12 hours at hospital emergency departments in Northern Ireland in December.

Those affected were waiting to be treated, discharged or admitted.

The figures were more than treble the number during the same period last year.

No patient attending an emergency department should wait longer than 12 hours, according to government targets.

From March the set target is that at least 80% of patients should commence treatment following triage within two hours.

According to Department of Health figures there was a 6% increase in the number of people attending emergency departments in December.

It has also emerged that more than one in six people were referred to an emergency department by a GP, slightly more than in December 2015.

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