ED staff at Hospitals doing all they can to help and save lives

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

Wednesday 20 July 2022 15:05

EXHAUSTED staff in Emergency Departments at Daisy Hill and Craigavon Area Hospital are doing everything they can to make patients comfortable and treat everyone as safely and quickly as possible.

The local Hospitals are , according to the Trust, working beyond capacity dealing with rising numbers of Covid patients and many ill patients waiting for hospital beds.

On the extended hours patients are having to spend at ED’S the Trust say most of the long waits in the Emergency Department are due to patients waiting for a bed to become available following another patient’s discharge.

The comments come in response to the newly published Emergency Care Activity Report (twelve month period 2021-22) which once again highlight the immense pressures local Health facilities are facing presently.

GP Referrals

Up until the year ending March 2022, there had been a total of 55,056 attendances at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry while at CAH the figure recorded was 81,053.

Whilst the majority of attendances at both hospitals were seen with the 0-4hours time period, over 17,000 experienced waiting times of over twelve hours at the two local Medical facilities.

During 2021/22 19.5% of ED attendances in the Southern Trust had been referred by a GP, compared with 10.3% in the Belfast HSC Trust.

“Our hard-working staff continue to provide care and treatment to patients with emergency medical conditions attending our Emergency Departments. Staff are doing everything they can to make patients comfortable and treat everyone as safely and quickly as possible. Despite all of this, regrettably many patients are experiencing longer waits. We are facing ongoing challenges in admitting patients. Most of the long waits in the Emergency Department are due to patients waiting for a bed to become available following another patient’s discharge. This has a direct impact on the length of time new patients who arrive at the Department will have to wait to be seen. Our hospitals are working beyond capacity dealing with rising numbers of Covid patients and many ill patients waiting for hospital beds. Managing these pressures in a global pandemic is a huge ongoing challenge for our exhausted staff. Rising Covid-19 related staff absence and illness inevitably increases pressures on our services, which are already experiencing very high levels of demand. We constantly monitor ongoing pressures both in our hospital system and regionally to allow us to manage patients in our hospitals at all times. It is absolutely vital that patients and visitors help keep themselves and others safe by: wearing a mask, washing hands, getting vaccinated, staying apart and leaving the hospital immediately when medically fit for discharge.” ALMOST one in five (the highest recorded in the five Health Trusts in Northern Ireland) have been referred to Emergency Departments at local Hospitals by local GPs.

During 2021/22 19.5% of ED attendances in the Southern Trust had been referred by a GP, compared with 10.3% in the Belfast HSC Trust.

Up until the year ending March 2022, there had been a total of 55,056 attendances at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry while at CAH the figure recorded was 81,053.

Whilst the majority of attendances at both hospital were seen with the 0-4hours time period, over 17,000 experienced waiting times of over twelve hours at the two local Medical facilities.

The newly published Emergency Care statistics for Northern Ireland also reveals that the Southern Trust had the highest number of attendees leaving EDs before their treatment was complete by the Trust at 6.2%.

The Report, from April 2021 to March 2023, reveals that the number of attendances at daisy Hill during that period was 55,056, a significant increase from the previous 12 months, 17,309. Of those attendances at Daisy Hill over 93% were new attendances with the remainder made of planned and unplanned reviews.

At CAH, the total number of attendances was 81053 with over 90% again new attendees.

Waiting times

At Daisy Hill, 31,128 patients were dealt with in 0-4 hour period while

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.

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