Emergency department waiting times wouldn’t be allowed to happen in England warns Beggs

Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has warned that our emergency department waiting times would simply not be tolerated in England.

Roy Beggs said:

“The most recent figures show that 77.3% of patients treated at England’s major units were seen within four hours, against a target of 95%. This provoked an immediate and furious response by the country’s most senior medical practitioners and they wrote to the Prime Minister warning that patients were “dying prematurely” amid “intolerable” safety risks.

“Yet the reality is the situation is many times worse here in Northern Ireland. Figures just published by the Health Department here reveal that in December only 63.1% of the most urgent cases were treated or admitted within the 4 hour 95% target.

“If doctors are warning that patients are dying in England because their performance has dipped to 77.3%, I am frightened to think what those same doctors would warn about ours which is a full 14% worse.

“The health service here has long since passed the point of being in a full-scale crisis. Nearly each new set of figures are setting the new record for being the worst in the history of the NHS, yet nothing is being done to address it. We still don’t have enough beds, we still don’t have enough staff and we still don’t have enough adequate community care packages.

“Winter is still not over for our local hospitals. It is likely things will continue to get worse and the next publication of performance times will show we’ve once again reached a new low.

“In the absence of a Minister and the Assembly Health Committee the Health Department here is getting away without any scrutiny at all. If this were England, heads would have rolled and measures taken long, long ago.”

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