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1,700 wait over 12 hours in Northern Ireland A&E - almost double last year

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There has been an increase in the number of people waiting over twelve hours for treatment.

There has been an increase in the number of people waiting over twelve hours for treatment.

There has been an increase in the number of people waiting over twelve hours for treatment.

The amount of people waiting longer than 12 hours for treatment in emergency departments (ED) at Northern Ireland hospitals has nearly doubled over the last year.

The information was revealed as the Department of Health published statistics on the time spent by patients in emergency care departments at hospitals from July to September 2018.

The number of people waiting longer than 12 hours for treatment increased from 919 to 1,716 from September 2017 to September 2018.

Of all those who attended an A&E in September 2018, 2.6% waited longer than 12 hours for treatment.

In September 66,244 people attended an ED, 71.1% of them were seen within four hours.

The government target is to have 95% of patients seen within four hours, with none waiting longer than 12.

During the period from July to September 2018, almost three quarters (71.3%) of patients were treated and discharged or admitted within 4 hours, 6.7% less than the same period in 2017 (77.8%).

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In September 2018 the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (RBHSC) reported the best performance with 84.4% of patients being seen within the 4 hour target, whilst Craigavon Area Hospital reported the lowest with 57.4%.

The RBHSC was also the only ED to ensure all patients were seen within a 12 hour period.

Antrim Area Hospital's ED saw the highest number of patients waiting over twelve hours for treatment, with 410 in September 2018.

UUP Health spokesperson Roy Beggs Jr said that the situation in Northern Ireland would not be tolerated anywhere else in the United Kingdom.

“We are in an unprecedented and deeply precarious situation. Never before in the 70-year history of the local health service have things been so bad," he said.

“The same problems from 2 or 3 years ago - not having enough beds, not having enough staff and not having enough community care packages - are all still present today but just now on an even larger scale.

“The tragic reality is that in 2018, despite all our advances in medical care, more and more patients in Northern Ireland are coming to harm as a result of avoidable delays in receiving treatment.

“It appears that in the absence of a Minister and the Assembly Health Committee, the leadership in the Health Department locally is simply carrying on like business as usual. If this were England, heads would have rolled and remedial measures would have been taken long, long ago.”

Between September 2017 and 2018 every ED in Northern Ireland had a decline in meeting the 12 hour waiting target except the RBHSC and Altnagelvin Area Hospital.

The Royal Victoria Hospital's ED saw the highest number attendees in September 2018 with 8,022 admissions. Lowest was the RBHSC with 2,975.

Monday was the busiest day in the departments during September 2018, with over 2,600 daily attendances on average.


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