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