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  1. ITV Report

Hundreds waiting more than 12 hours at A&Es

Hundreds of patients are waiting more than 12 hours. Credit: UTV

Last week, almost 200 patients per day had to wait more than 12 hours for either a bed or to be discharged at A&E departments in Northern Ireland.

In one case, the wait for one person was more than two days.

The current targets for emergency care wait times here state that no patient should wait longer than 12 hours.

However the reality of daily life in Northern Ireland’s hospitals in 2019 is that many are waiting much longer than that.

From 3 to 10 November, the worst performing trust was the Southern Trust - which includes the Daisy Hill and Craigavon hospitals.

There, 353 people were waiting more than 12 hours.

A close second was the Belfast Trust, which takes in the flagship Royal, where 324 people were waiting more than 12 hours.

Meanwhile the Northern Trust, which covers the Antrim Area and Causeway hospitals, had 299 people waiting more than 12 hours.

Northern Ireland’s waiting times are the worst in the UK.

Last year the Health Department announced a review of urgent and emergency care, aimed at establishing a new regional care model.

An initial report is expected early next year.

Consultant Dr Brendan Sinnott told UTV more resources should be made available so that the best quality care can be delivered.

“It is unacceptable and we have had several discussions around looking for more resources,” he said.

“The thing is, I know there are budgetary constraints and I know the administration is not in place to make decisions, but we are asking those people who have the power to make decisions to give us more resources and we will deliver top quality care.”

A statement from the Health and Social Care Board said it expects the situation “to continue throughout this winter”.

It said it has “put in place a number of initiatives to increase the support available in community settings”.

“However, despite the measures currently in place, some people are waiting longer in EDs than is acceptable,” the statement went on.

“All trusts have winter resilience plans in place focusing on: providing alternatives to hospital admissions in appropriate settings; ensuring patients can leave hospital quickly when they are clinically fit; and improving ambulance turnaround times at emergency departments.

“In addition to alleviate pressure on GP services, we are offering consultations in private areas with community pharmacists for those suffering from cold, sore throats and flu-like symptoms.

“These conditions are more prevalent in the winter and last year, over 21,000 such consultations were offered, freeing up 10,000 GP appointments.

“We have also invested £2.2m in GP services this winter to offer same day appointments in the period immediately after the Christmas and New Year holidays.”