Thu, 05 Oct 2023

The Department of Health today published the 2022/23 Inpatient, Day Case and Outpatient Hospital Statistics for Northern Ireland.

These Hospital Statistics publications outline (a) the number of inpatient and day case admissions and (b) the number of attendances at consultant led outpatient services in Northern Ireland during 2022/23, analysed by HSC Trust, hospital and specialty.

Both publications are available the Department of Health website.

Key Findings 2022/23

Inpatient Activity

  • during 2022/23 there were 542,079 inpatient and day case admissions to hospital in Northern Ireland. This was an increase of 6.1% (31,245) on the number of admissions during 2020/21 but a decrease of 11.4% (70,015) on the number admitted during 2018/19.

  • of the 542,079 admissions, 47.2% (255,747) were inpatient admissions and 52.8% (286,332) were day cases.

  • the day case rate for Acute programme of care has increased from 81.4% in 2018/19 to 84.4% in 2022/23. The greatest increase occurred between 2020/21 and 2021/22 when the day case rate increased from 82.6% to 84.3%.

  • between 2021/22 and 2022/23, the average number of available beds increased by 5.6% (322.8) from 5,804.2 to 6,127.0.  

  • the greatest increase in average available beds was evident in the Acute programme of care, increasing by 297.2 beds (7.3%) from 4,084.9 in 2021/22 to 4,382.1 in 2022/23.

  • occupancy rate in hospitals was 82.2% during 2022/23; this was a decrease from 83.6% in 2018/19, but an increase from 79.5% in 2021/22.

  • average length of stay in hospitals has increased from 6.7 days in 2021/22 to 7.2 days in 2022/23.

  • in 2022/23, there were 98,150 theatre cases across all HSC Trust hospitals in Northern Ireland; this was an increase of 17.9% (14,881) compared with 83,269 theatre cases in 2021/22.

  • the total number of hospital births in Northern Ireland decreased by 1,440 (6.6%) from 21,795 births in 2021/22 to 20,355 hospital births in 2022/23.

Inpatient and Day Case Activity in the Independent Sector

  1.  in 2022/23 there were 32,398 admissions to hospital in Northern Ireland for an inpatient or day case procedure with an Independent Sector provider that was commissioned by the Health Service. This was an increase of 12,359 (61.7%) when compared with 2021/22.

  1.  all Independent Sector admissions occurred within the Acute Programme of Care. Information on Acute services within the Independent Sector is provided by the Strategic Planning and Performance Group in the Department of Health, split by commissioning HSC Trust (the HSC Trust responsible for the patient's waiting time) and specialty. Data on the number of HSC patients treated in the Independent Sector are not National Statistics and have not been validated by the Department.

Outpatient Activity: Attendances

  • in the 2022/23 reporting year, there were 1,518,673 attendances at a consultant-led outpatient service. This is an increase of 5.3% since 2021/22 (1,442,505) and a decrease of 1.7% on 5 years ago (1,544,300).

  • of these attendances, 1,133,014 (74.6%) were face-to-face attendances at HSC hospitals, 277,341 (18.3%) were virtual attendances, 43,057 (2.8%) were attendances at Independent Sector hospitals and 65,261 (4.3%) were ward attendances.

  • there has been a large increase in virtual appointments in recent years. The highest number and proportion of virtual appointments were recorded in 2020/21 (37.1% of 1,201,599 attendances). The number and proportion then decreased in 2021/22 and 2022/23 but remain well above the level seen in 2019/20 (3.0% of 1,525,271 attendances).

  • in addition to the 1,518,673 attendances at a consultant-led outpatient services, there were 75,390 attendances at Integrated Clinical Assessment and Treatment Services.

Outpatient Activity: Missed Appointments & Cancellations

  • data on missed and cancelled appointments is currently only collected by the Department for face-to-face (excluding ward attendances) and virtual appointments.

  • in the 2022/23 reporting year, patients did not attend 107,608 face-to-face appointments and 17,250 virtual appointments. The combined DNA rate was 8.1%, a similar rate to that seen in the past 5 years.

  • in the 2022/23 reporting year, hospitals cancelled 168,932 face-to-face appointments and 33,976 virtual appointments. The combined hospital cancellation rate was 12.6%. This is a decrease from a rate of 16.9% observed in 2019/20 and 13.1% in 2020/21. Between 2015/16 and 2018/19 the rate ranged between 9.1% and 10.3%.

  • in the 2022/23 reporting year, patients cancelled 137,358 face-to-face appointments and 8,663 virtual appointments. The combined CNA rate was 9.4%, this is an increase on the rates observed in 2020/21 (6.0%) and 2021/22 (8.7%) but remains below the levels seen between 2015/16 and 2019/20 (ranging from 11.0% to 11.5%).

  • since 2015/16, the virtual CNA rate has been consistently much lower than the face-to-face CNA rate, ranging from 1.0% in 2019/20 to 3.0% in 2022/23.

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