Nine people were forced to wait for more than 12 hours for treatment at Craigavon Hospital’s Emergency Department last month while a further 1,330 endured a wait of between four and 12 hours.
The figures, released this week, show a spike in the number of patients waiting for longer to be treated.
A spokesperson for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said: “Recent waiting list statistics again confirmed Craigavon’s Emergency Department as among the busiest and best performing (for its size) in Northern Ireland. Almost 6,400 people attended Craigavon’s Emergency Department in January 2015 which is 500 more people than attended in January 2014. “Despite the extra demands placed on the Emergency Department, the vast majority (79%) of people attending the Emergency Department in January were treated within 4 hours and nearly all of our patients were treated within 6 hours.
“Unfortunately a few people in January waited longer than 12 hours in the Emergency Department, as a result of the hospital quickly becoming exceptionally busy with seriously ill patients.
“Our staff worked tirelessly to ensure that the Emergency Department is operating in the most effective way possible but 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. There are other services available like Minor Injuries, GP or GP Out of Hours.”