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Emergency Care Waiting Time Statistics (April – June 2021)

The Department of Health (DoH) has published statistics on the time spent in emergency care departments (ED) throughout Northern Ireland during the months of April, May and June 2021.

The statistical bulletin presents information on all new and unplanned review attendances during April, May and June 2021. 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 a number of new models of care and pathways have recently been introduced that seek to ensure that patients are able to access the right care, first time. These include Urgent Care Centres, a ‘Phone First’ clinical telephone assessment service and direct access pathways into services. These new pathways and models of care may in part explain the reduction in the number of patients attending ED by providing them with timely access to the care they require.

Key Points

Attendances at Emergency Care Departments:

Attendances:

• During June 2021, there were 67,857 attendances at EDs in Northern Ireland, 13,416 (24.6%) more than in June 2020 (54,441).

• Of the 67,857 ED attendances during June 2021, 57,883 (85.3%) had attended a Type 1 ED, 4,279 (6.3%) attended a Type 2 ED and 5,695 (8.4%) attended a Type 3 ED.

• Between June 2020 and June 2021, attendances increased at Type 1 EDs (10,371, 21.8%), Type 2 EDs (1,953, 84.0%) and Type 3 EDs (1,092, 23.7%).

• There were 192,296 attendances at EDs during the quarter ending 30 June 2021, 37.9% (52,880) more than during the same quarter in 2020 (139,416).

Left before Treatment Complete:

• During June 2021, 5.7% of all ED attendances left before their treatment was complete.

Unplanned Re-Attendances within 7 Days:

• During June 2021, 3.7% of the 67,857 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:

• In June 2021, almost a fifth (13.7%) of attendances at EDs had been referred by a GP, compared with 16.8% in June 2020.

Time Spent in Emergency Care Departments:

Performance against Targets

• Over half (53.9%) of attendances at Type 1 EDs in June 2021 were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, compared with 65.5% in June 2020.

• Over eight in ten (85.7%) patients attending a Type 2 ED in June 2021 were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, compared with 83.4% in June 2020.

• Almost all (98.9%) patients attending a Type 3 ED were treated and discharged, or admitted within 4 hours of their arrival, compared with 99.7% in June 2020.

• Between June 2020 and June 2021, the number waiting over 12 hours increased from 1,840 to 5,492, accounting for 8.1% of all attendances in June 2021.

• Almost three quarters (72.2%) of patients attending EDs commenced their treatment within 2 hours of being triaged, compared with 86.6% in June 2020.

• During the quarter ending 31st June 2021, over six in ten (60.2%) of patients waited less than 4 hours at an ED, compared to 71.1% during the same quarter in 2020.

Time to Triage:

• The median waiting time from arrival at an ED to triage (initial assessment) by a medical professional was 11 minutes during June 2021, with 95 percent of patients having their care needs assessed for the first time by a medical professional within 53 minutes of arrival.

Time to Start of Treatment:

• During June 2021, the median waiting time from triage to the start of treatment by a medical professional was 58 minutes, with 95 percent of patients receiving treatment within 5 hours 21 minutes of being triaged.

Total Time in Emergency Care Department:

• The median time patients who were discharged home (not admitted) spent in a Type 1 ED was 3 hours 12 minutes in June 2021, 35 minutes more than the time taken during the same month last year (2 hour 37 minutes).

• The median time patients who were admitted to hospital spent in a Type 1 ED was 9 hours 9 minutes in June 2021, 2 hours 56 minutes more than the same month last year (6 hours 13 minutes).

• During June 2021, the Ulster reported the longest median waiting time from arrival to admission (11 hours 56 minutes), whilst the RBHSC reported the shortest time (4 hours 34 minutes).

ENDS

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