Stats reveal Altnagelvin ED reported longest waiting time

Altnagelvin Hospital reported the longest average waiting time for any NI emergency care department during June 2021, figures reveal.

Alnagelvin Hospital, Derry.
Alnagelvin Hospital, Derry.

From arrival to admission at the Derry hospital’s Accident and Emergency, the average waiting time was 19 hours and 52 minutes.

By comparison, during the same period, the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children reported the shortest average time at five hours and two minutes.

The government’s target is for patients to wait no more than 12 hours.

The release of the stats coincides with a call from the North’s Department of Health for people to support timely discharge from hospitals in order to help deal with “severe and ongoing pressures”.

The Department says demand on hospital services has escalated over the past few days.

It says all hospitals are working beyond capacity - with many very ill patients waiting for hospital beds.

The health and social care sector has urgently appealed to patients and families to help free up beds.

The Department said this could be done in several ways, including ensuring there are arrangements in place to be picked up promptly on the day of discharge once medically fit or by accepting an allocated care home placement.

Earlier this year, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) said ‘urgent action’ was required to tackle hospital waiting times on both sides of the Irish border.

Health Minister Robin Swann has previously said the size of Northern Ireland’s hospital waiting lists is “undermining” the principle of a free health service.