Wed, 30 Nov 2022

Emergency Care Waiting Time Statistics (July - September 2022)

Northern Ireland Executive
04 Nov 2022, 22 GMT+10

The Department of Health (DoH) today published statistics on the time spent in emergency care departments (ED) throughout Northern Ireland during the months of July, August and September 2022

The statistical bulletin presents information on all new and unplanned review attendances during July, August and September 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.

Key Points

Attendances at Emergency Care Departments:

Urgent and Emergency Care Attendances:

  • In September 2022, 13,456 calls / attendances were received by PhoneFirst and Urgent Care Centre services, from patients who may previously have attended an ED. A total of 2,363 (17.6%) resulted in an attendance at an ED, whilst 11,093 patients did not go on to attend an ED.
  • During September 2022, 62,839 patients in total attended an ED, and 11,093 attended PhoneFirst / Urgent Care Centre services without further referral to an ED; a total of 73,932 patients attending all urgent and emergency care services.

Emergency Care Attendances:

  • During September 2022, there were 62,839 attendances at EDs in Northern Ireland, 1,443 (2.4%) more than in September 2021 (61,396).

  • Of the 62,839 ED attendances during September 2022, 54,715 (87.1%) had attended a Type 1 ED, 2,780 (4.4%) attended a Type 2 ED and 5,344 (8.5%) attended a Type 3 ED.
  • Between September 2021 and September 2022, attendances increased at Type 1 EDs (1,237, 2.3%) and Type 3 EDs (564, 11.8%) but decreased at Type 2 EDs (358, 11.4%).
  • There were 189,669 attendances at EDs during the quarter ending 30 September 2022, 0.7% (1,374) more than during the same quarter in 2021 (188,295).

Left before Treatment Complete:

  • During September 2022, 6.4% of all ED attendances left before their treatment was complete, compared with 6.7% in September 2021.

Unplanned Re-Attendances within 7 Days:

  • During September 2022, 3.5% of the 62,839 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 September 2022, almost one in six (16.3%) attendances at EDs had been referred by a GP, compared with 14.8% in September 2021.

Time Spent in Emergency Care Departments:

Performance against Targets

  • Almost half (45.2%) of attendances at Type 1 EDs in September 2022 spent less than 4 hours in ED, compared with 81.4% at Type 2 EDs and 99.0% at Type 3 EDs.
  • Over eight in ten (81.4%) patients attending a Type 2 ED in September 2022 were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, compared with 78.7% in September 2021.
  • Almost all (99.0%) patients attending a Type 3 ED were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, compared with 99.8% in September 2021.
  • Between September 2021 and September 2022, the number waiting over 12 hours increased from 7,161 to 8,832, accounting for 14.1% of attendances in September 2022.
  • Almost two thirds (65.5%) of patients attending EDs commenced their treatment within 2 hours of being triaged, compared with 69.7% in September 2021.
  • During the quarter ending 30 September 2022, over half (50.5%) of patients spent less than 4 hours at an ED, compared to 54.1% during the same quarter in 2021.

Time to Triage:

  • The median waiting time from arrival at an ED to triage (initial assessment) by a medical professional was 13 minutes during September 2022, with 95 percent of patients having their care needs assessed for the first time by a medical professional within 1 hour 13 minutes of arrival.

Time to Start of Treatment:

  • During September 2022, the median waiting time from triage to the start of treatment by a medical professional was 1 hour 11 minutes, with 95 percent of patients receiving treatment within 6 hours 26 minutes of being triaged.

Total Time in Emergency Care Department:

  • The median time patients discharged home (not admitted) spent in a Type 1 ED was 3 hours 45 minutes in September 2022, 13 minutes more than the time taken during the same month last year (3 hours 32 minutes).
  • The median time patients who were admitted to hospital spent in a Type 1 ED was 13 hours 36 minutes in September 2022, 2 hours 20 minutes more than the same month last year (11 hours 16 minutes).
  • During September 2022, Altnagelvin Area reported the longest median time spent in ED from arrival to admission (18 hours 57 minutes), whilst the RBHSC reported the shortest time (4 hours 30 minutes).

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