There has been a marked reduction in the number of people waiting for less than four hours at Craigavon’s Emergency Department.
Figures released last week showed the percentage of people waiting for four hours or less in October was 75.1% while in November it dropped to 71.7%. In December it fell to 70.1%.
However, there was a rise in the number of patients waiting more than 12 hours with none in October, one in November and three in December.
This was before the massive spike in attendances on one Monday in January when special procedures had to be introduced to cope with the large demand for services.
These included the diversion of a number of ambulances to other hospitals.
A spokeswoman for the Southern Health Trust said, “Recent waiting list statistics confirm that Craigavon’s Emergency Department is one of the busiest and best performing (for its size) in Northern Ireland, with more than 18,000 attendances here in the last three months.
“Hospital staff worked tirelessly during this busy period to ensure that the majority of people attending the Emergency Department were treated within four hours and only a tiny number of patients waited longer than 12 hours.
“We are constantly aiming to ensure that the Emergency Department is operating in the most effective way possible and we need the public’s help to achieve this. People should only come to the Emergency Department if they have serious and urgent conditions.
“There are significant numbers of people attending our emergency departments with minor ailments and they are diverting doctors and nurses from the job of dealing with people who are real emergencies.”
Upper Bann MP David Simpson and MLA Sydney Anderson meanwhile have met hospital management and discussed a number of issues, including waiting times and security at the hospital site following the recent sex assault on a nurse.