Northern Ireland

A&E waiting time target breached by 25,000 people

Hospital sign Image copyright mattjeacock

More than 25,000 people waited longer than the target waiting time for Northern Ireland's emergency departments (EDs) in 2018/19, according to new figures.

The target states that no patient attending any ED should wait longer than 12 hours.

It also says that 95% of patients should be either treated and discharged or admitted within four hours.

Figures show that 25,326 of the 822,847 patients waited longer than 12 hours.

This compares to 17,247 in 2017/18 with the biggest rises at the Ulster and Craigavon Area hospitals.

'Starkly illustrate'

At the Ulster Hospital, the numbers of people waiting longer than 12 hours increased from 4,553 in 2017/18 to 6,486 last year.

In Craigavon Area Hospital, the rise was from 2,579 to 4,604 over the same period.

Image copyright thawornnurak
Image caption The target states that no-one should wait longer than 12 hours to be treated, discharged or admitted

The Department of Health said the figures "starkly illustrate" the pressures on emergency departments and the wider health and social care system.

In a statement, the department said it "must again apologise to the significant and growing numbers of patients who have been waiting too long in our EDs".

"Clearly, the current model of care - the way we organise urgent and emergency services together with the flow of patients through our hospitals from admission to discharge - needs to change."

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