The Department of Health today published annual statistics on activity and waiting times at emergency care departments (ED), in Northern Ireland during the year ending 31 March 2022.
The statistical bulletin presents information on the total activity at EDs in Northern Ireland during 2021/22, including information on new, unplanned and planned review attendances, waiting times at EDs, ambulance response times, calls and incidents.
The Northern Ireland Hospital Statistics: Emergency Care (2021/22) publication is the first in the series of three 'Hospital Statistics' statistical publications due for release in the coming months, with the further two detailing information on inpatient activity and outpatient activity.
This information release is published on the Departmental website
Latest Position (2021/22)
- During 2021/22, 848,629 patients attended urgent and emergency care services, of which 722,950 (new and unplanned review) attended an emergency care department (ED), and 125,679 attended PhoneFirst / Urgent Care Centre services without further referral to an ED.
- During 2021/22, 49.5% of new and unplanned review attendances at Type 1 EDs were treated and discharged, or admitted, within 4 hours of their arrival, compared with 81.8% at Type 2 departments, and 99.5% at Type 3 departments.
- Over one in ten (10.9%, 78,995) of the 722,950 new and unplanned review attendances at EDs waited longer than 12 hours to be either treated and discharged home, or admitted.
- Over seven in ten (70.6%) patients attending EDs in 2021/22 commenced their treatment within 2 hours of being triaged.
- The NIAS Category 1 Mean (8 minutes) and 90th Percentile (15 minutes) targets were not achieved in any month during 2021/22.
- The NIAS Category 1T Mean (19 minutes) and 90th Percentile (30 minutes) targets were achieved each month during 2021/22.
Comparison with Previous Year (2020/21 - 2021/22)
- Since 2020/21, the number of new and unplanned review attendances at EDs increased by 129,581 (21.8%), from 593,369 to 722,950 in 2021/22.
- Whilst the number of attendances increased notably between 2020/21 and 2021/22 (129,581), performance against the 4 hour waiting times target decreased from 65.0% to 54.8%.
- The number of patients spending over 12 hours in an ED increased in 2021/22 (78,995) compared with 2020/21 (37,884).
Five Year Trends (2017/18 - 2021/22)
- During the last five years, the number of ED attendances (new and unplanned reviews) decreased by 71,204 (9.0%), from 794,154 in 2017/18 to 722,950 in 2021/22.
- Whilst the number of attendances decreased between 2017/18 and 2021/22, performance against the 4 hour waiting time target declined from 73.4% to 54.8% in 2021/22.
- Between 2017/18 and 2021/22, the number of patients spending over 12 hours in an ED increased markedly from 17,347 to 78,995, with the Royal Victoria reporting the most notable increase during this period (1,888 to 16,474).
- Since 2017/18, the proportion of attendances referred by a GP decreased from 17.1% to 15.2% in 2021/22.