An MP has warned of casualty department "chaos" after new figures revealed more than 670 patients endured 12-hour waits at A&Es over a three-month period.
According to statistics released by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 389 people waited over 12 hours at the Royal'S A&E between April and June of this year.
At the Mater, 258 patients were left waiting for at least 12 hours over the three months, while 1,196 waited longer at Antrim Area Hospital A&E - an average of 13 a day.
The statistics have prompted speculation the departments will be unable to cope with additional patients after the expected closure of the City Hospital A&E.
South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell warned the proposal will lead to nightmare waiting scenarios for patients.
He said: "These latest figures show A&Es at the Mater and Royal are already struggling to cope. It is already chaotic and it is only going to get worse."
In a shock announcement to the Stormont health committee last week, Health Minister Edwin Poots said he is considering reducing the number of A&Es in Belfast from three to two, with the City earmarked for closure.
He also revealed the opening hours of Lagan Valley A&E are to be scaled back.
The South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust has since said the department will close between 8pm and 9am from Monday.
The number of people who waited longer than 12 hours between April and June 2011.
- Altnagelvin: 4
- Erne: 0
- Antrim Area: 1,196
- Causeway: 142
- Craigavon Area: 0
- Daisy Hill: 0
- Belfast City: 49
- Royal Victoria: 389
- Mater: 258
- Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children: 4
- Ulster: 296