SWAH ED numbers up as waiting times grow

THE LATEST figures from the Department of Health have confirmed what many patients and staff in Fermanagh already knew all too well – both waiting times and the number of patients attending the SWAH ED has grown over the past year.
The latest statistical report on ED waiting times across the North, released last week by the Department of Health, examined the number attending EDs in both March 2021 and March 2022.
It highlighted the pattern of growing waiting times for patients attending, with the figures revealing patients have been waiting for up to almost 38 hours for admission via the Enniskillen hospital’s ED.
The report also showed the number of patients had grown, month-on-month, from 2,799 in March 2021 to 3,199 in March this year.
In March 2021, 64.7 percent of patients were seen at the SWAH ED within the Department’s four hour performance target, however by March 2022 this had fallen to 47 percent.
This is below the average for all emergency departments across the North, where 52.8 percent of patients were seen within two hours.
A total of 187 patients were seen within the 12 hour target at the SWAH in March 2021, by this March that had grown to 379.
The time between being triaged, where the seriousness of a patient’s condition is assessed, and treated has also increased.
In March 2021 the average waiting time for triage was 18 minutes, in March 2022 this had grown to one hour and nine minutes. This is still below the northern average of one hour, 12 minutes.
The longest waiting time from triage to treatment at the SWAH was five hours, 11 minutes. The longest waiting time for triage in the North was five hours, 55 minutes.
The time to be triaged has also increased slightly, with the average growing from 11 minutes to 18 minutes. The longest wait for triage in March 2022 was one hour, ten minutes.
With regard those being admitted to hospital, in March 2021 the average waiting time was six hours and two minutes. By March 2022 this had increased to eight hours and 52 minutes. Again, this was below the average waiting time across the North, which in March 2022 was 12 hours, 50 minutes.
Outside the median waiting times, the longest time a patient awaited admission at the SWAH ED was 37 hours, 57 minutes. The longest waiting time in the North was 45 hours, 32 minutes.
For patients who were not admitted to the hospital, the average waiting time grew from two hours, 37 minutes in March 2022 to three hours, 48 minutes in March 2022. The average across the North was three hours, nine minutes.
The longest wait was 14 hours, 22 minutes at the SWAH, while across the North it was 11 hours, 27 minutes.

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