The Health and Social Care Board has admitted waiting times at emergency departments are “simply not acceptable”.
The admission follows the publication of waiting time statistics for the period July to September this year.
The number of people waiting more than 12 hours for treatment has more than trebled when compared to the same quarter last year.
During July, August and September 2017, a total of 1,662 patients had to wait more than 12 hours at Northern Ireland emergency departments.
This year, the figure has leapt to 5,086.
The Health and Social Care Board issued a statement to the press following the publication of the damning figures yesterday.
A spokesperson said: “This is simply not acceptable and the service is taking steps to ensure improvements are put in place.”
However, last year’s emergency department waiting lists were also described by the board as “simply not acceptable” with the same pledge that steps would be taken to “ensure improvements”, yet the figures for July to September this year are even worse.
The UUP health spokesperson Roy Beggs said: “Nearly every routine publication of waiting time statistics sets a new record for being the worst in history.
“There are only so many times we can express concern and deepening horror at the deteriorating problems across our health service, but the biggest problem is that absolutely nothing is being done to address them.”
He added: “It appears that in the absence of a minister and the Assembly Health Committee, the leadership in the health department locally is simply carrying on like business as usual. If this were England, heads would have rolled and remedial measures would have been taken long, long ago.”