Website to list emergency unit waiting times in North

£4m allocated to deal with increased pressure on services over busy winter months

Health officials in Northern Ireland are keen to address long waiting times, as during 2014/15 some 3,000 people spent more than 12 hours waiting in emergency departments. This is down from 10,000 in 2011/12. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Health officials in Northern Ireland are keen to address long waiting times, as during 2014/15 some 3,000 people spent more than 12 hours waiting in emergency departments. This is down from 10,000 in 2011/12. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

A new website will list waiting times for hospital emergency departments in the North in an effort to help ease pressure on the hospital system and reduce delays for patients.

The online facility developed by the Public Health Agency (PHA), Health and Social Care Board (HSCB), the Patient Client Council (PCC) and the Business Services Group has been live since Thursday.

It was unveiled by health bosses in Northern Ireland as it was confirmed £4 million (€5.44 million) has been allocated to deal with increased pressure on services over the traditionally busy winter months.

Officials are keen to address long waiting times, as during 2014/15 some 3,000 people spent more than 12 hours waiting in emergency departments. This is down from 10,000 in 2011/12.

Useful information

PHA director of nursing Mary Hinds explained the new website will provide people with useful information about the average wait time to be treated.

“The waiting time information is updated hourly and shows the average waiting time to be treated by a doctor or nurse,” she said.

“All patients will already have been triaged by staff on arrival, so the time shown is for treatment, not assessment.

“Also, it is important for the public to be aware that waiting times at emergency departments can change significantly and quickly without warning, and therefore the times given here are not a guarantee of how long you will actually wait.”

You can access waiting time information by visiting nidirect.gov.uk