The Department of Health (DoH) today published statistics on the time spent in emergency care departments (ED) throughout Northern Ireland during the months of October, November and December 2022
The statistical bulletin presents information on all new and unplanned review attendances during October, November and December 2022. It details information on the time spent in EDs during each of these months including; the monthly performance against the DoH emergency care waiting times target for EDs and the time waited for key milestones during a patient's journey through ED, whilst they are being cared for in an ED, including the time to triage and time to start of treatment.
Please note that this statistical release includes information on two new urgent care services (i) PhoneFirst and (ii) Urgent Care Centres, which were introduced in late 2020, to assess patients' needs before arrival at an ED, and ensure they receive the right care, at the right time, and in the right place, outside ED if appropriate. These new services may in part help explain the reduction in the number of patients attending EDs.
This information release is published on the Emergency Care Waiting Times Website.
Attendances at Emergency Care Departments:
Urgent and Emergency Care Attendances:
- in December 2022, 12,366 calls / attendances were received by PhoneFirst and Urgent Care Centre services, from patients who may previously have attended an ED. A total of 2,078 (16.8%) resulted in an attendance at an ED, whilst 10,288 patients did not go on to attend an ED.
- during December 2022, 62,350 patients in total attended an ED, and 10,288 attended PhoneFirst / Urgent Care Centre services without further referral to an ED; a total of 72,638 patients attending all urgent and emergency care services.
Emergency Care Attendances:
- during December 2022, there were 62,350 attendances at EDs in Northern Ireland, 6,715 (12.1%) more than in December 2021 (55,635).
- of the 62,350 ED attendances during December 2022, 55,772 (89.4%) had attended a Type 1 ED, 2,589 (4.2%) attended a Type 2 ED and 3,989 (6.4%) attended a Type 3 ED.
- between December 2021 and December 2022, attendances increased at Type 1 EDs (6,205, 12.5%), Type 2 EDs (171, 7.1%) and Type 3 EDs (339, 9.3%).
- there were 189,617 attendances at EDs during the quarter ending 31 December 2022, 8.8% (15,416) more than during the same quarter in 2021 (174,201).
Left before Treatment Complete:
- during December 2022, 7.4% of all ED attendances left before their treatment was complete, compared with 5.4% in December 2021.
Unplanned Re-Attendances within 7 Days:
- during December 2022, 3.7% of the 62,350 ED attendances were unplanned review attendances who had returned to the same ED within 7 days of their original attendance for the same condition.
Referrals by GP:
- during December 2022, over one in six (18.6%) attendances at EDs had been referred by a GP, compared with 16.4% in December 2021.
Time Spent in Emergency Care Departments:
Performance against Targets
- over two fifths (40.5%) of attendances at Type 1 EDs in December 2022 spent less than 4 hours in ED, compared with 78.8% at Type 2 EDs and 99.4% at Type 3 EDs.
- during the quarter ending 31 December 2022, almost half (48.8%) of patients spent less than 4 hours at an ED, compared to 53.6% during the same quarter in 2021.
- over three quarters (78.8%) of patients attending a Type 2 ED in December 2022 were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, compared with 82.4% in December 2021.
- almost all (99.4%) of patients attending a Type 3 ED were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, compared with 99.2% in December 2021.
- between December 2021 and December 2022, the number waiting over 12 hours increased from 7,113 to 9,816, accounting for 15.7% of attendances in December 2022.
- over three fifths (60.9%) of patients attending EDs in December 2022 commenced their treatment within 2 hours of being triaged, compared with 70.3% in December 2021.
Time to Triage:
- the median waiting time from arrival at an ED to triage (initial assessment) by a medical professional was 15 minutes during December 2022, with 95 percent of patients having their care needs assessed for the first time by a medical professional within 1 hour 21 minutes of arrival.
Time to Start of Treatment:
- during December 2022, the median waiting time from triage to the start of treatment by a medical professional was 1 hour 25 minutes, with 95 percent of patients receiving treatment within 7 hours of being triaged.
Total Time in Emergency Care Department:
- the median time patients discharged home (not admitted) spent in a Type 1 ED was 4 hours 8 minutes in December 2022, 33 minutes more than the time taken during the same month last year (3 hours 35 minutes).
- the median time patients who were admitted to hospital spent in a Type 1 ED was 14 hours 9 minutes in December 2022, 3 hours 14 minutes more than the same month last year (10 hours 55 minutes).
- during December 2022, Altnagelvin Area reported the longest median time spent in ED from arrival to admission (19 hours 58 minutes), whilst the RBHSC reported the shortest time (5 hours 56 minutes).