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Patients in Northern Ireland waiting too long in A&E

Will drop in performance in Northern Ireland health service bring Westminster intervention?


Almost a third of patients attending Northern Ireland’s highest level emergency departments are waiting more than the target four hours for treatment, the latest figures show.


Just 67.7% of patients in June were treated and discharged or admitted within four hours when attending type 1 emergency departments (consultant-led, 24-hour services able to deal with medical or surgical emergencies). This compares to 77.7% at the same time last year. The number of patients waiting longer than four hours in type 2 emergency departments also rose.


The figures are in line with increasing waiting times across health services in Northern Ireland, which has not had a health minister for around 18 months, following the collapse of devolution.


Worsening health service performance has prompted some calls for Westminster to intervene, including a plea from Ulster Unionist politician Lord Empey, who said it should be done on humanitarian grounds.


Further information

Department of Health (NI): Emergency care waiting time statistics (April ― June 2018)

News Letter: Reg Empey: Health powers should be returned to Westminster