Derry A&E attendance soars over past year

Over half of the patients presenting at Derry’s A&E department at Altnagelvin in December spent over four hours there.

Emergency care waiting time statistics show a major increase in the numbers presenting in December 2021 compared to December the previous year, resulting in pressures on waiting times here and elsewhere across NI in December 2021.

Emergency care departments have been under pressure throughout the pandemic due to staffing issues and limited access to other health care settings for patients.

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In December 2021, there were 5,307 attendences at Altnagelvin A&E, 368 of which were unplanned.

December has been seen as the busiest month for emergency departments, and the total number of visitors in Altnagelvin’s ED increased by over 1,000 people from 4,276 the previous year.

With a target of four hours of treatment time for patients who are discharged home, Altnagelvin recorded the lowest performance across NI with 38.7% of cases treated within four hours.

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Statistics show that 5.2% of A&E attendances across the north had left before their treatment was completed in December 2021.

An average of 3.6% of people re-attended A&E across NI within seven days of their original visit during December 2021.

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The average time spent in A&E before the triage stage was 12 minutes in December 2021, an increase from 9 minutes during December 2020.

In December 2021, 58.6% of patients had been treated within two hours of being triaged in Altnagelvin, compared to 89.1% the previous year.

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Those who are admitted to hospital are finding themselves spend more time in A&E, with the average in December 2021 in Altnagelvin being 12 hours 59 minutes, compared to an average of four hours and 17 minutes for those who had been discharged.