The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) is concerned about the unacceptable length of time some patients have had to wait at a number of Emergency Departments and the negative experiences they have reported.
The HSCB has agreed a comprehensive action plan with Health and Social Care Trusts to support them in reducing waiting times and improving overall patient experience at Emergency Departments.
The action plan, unveiled today by Health Minister Edwin Poots today, is being put in place to bring about the required step change in performance.
HSCB Chief Executive John Compton said: “Staff in Emergency Departments across Northern Ireland provide a high standard of care for the vast majority of patients and it is important that we recognise that. Equally, whilst large numbers of patients are seen in a timely manner, the length of time that some patients have had to wait in some Emergency Departments is unacceptable.
“There has been a marked increase in waiting times at Emergency Departments in recent weeks and the HSCB has been working closely with Trusts to address this.
“As a result, we have agreed an action plan to improve performance at Emergency Departments across Northern Ireland with a particular focus on the Belfast, Northern and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trusts.”
The HSCB Chief Executive said that he wanted to see a significant improvement to waiting times at Emergency Departments in the next three months.
“We have been listening carefully to patients’ stories and experiences and it is essential that we continue to put their needs at the core of our services and deliver, accessible, effective and quality care,” Mr Compton said.
The action plan will include:
Mr Compton added:
“Our key priority is to improve the experience of patients who attend Emergency Departments, including to reducing the length of time some patients have had to wait.
“In the longer term, we are confident that the model outlined in Transforming Your Care will significantly change the way people access services with a shift from the hospital setting to the community. This will mean additional and quicker access to safe, sustainable and quality care and ensure that people are treated at the right time, in the right place by the right person.”