Medical Negligence
By Naomi White
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Medical Negligence: Waiting Times in Northern Ireland A&E’s

Expert Medical Negligence solicitors in Northern Ireland.

It is reported that A&E waiting times in Northern Ireland have increased by 355% over the last 5 years. Appalling waiting times in the Accident and Emergency Departments of Hospitals across Northern Ireland have contributed to cases of medical negligence or caused many patients’ significant harm. The Guardian even reports that, ‘A&E delays are causing up 500 deaths a week.’

The NHS Constitution states that patients should be seen within 4 hours of registration, however, for many this has not been the case. Unjustifiable waiting times at A&E have led to many instances where patients have not been properly examined, been provided the incorrect treatment, or no treatment at all.

Whilst high occupancy rates, staff shortages and discharge delays have been accused of causing the current NHS delay crisis, our medical negligence solicitors at PA Duffy & Co believe that this is no excuse for malpractice or negligence which causes further patient suffering. 

Average Waiting Times in A&E

Emergency Care Statistics Northern Ireland

2020/2021 A&E Statistics NI

2021/2022 A&E Statistics NI

37,884 patients spent over 12 hours in A&E

78,995 patients spent over 12 hours in A&E

593,369 patients were new and unplanned review attendances

722,950 patients were new and unplanned review attendances

Performance rates against targeted A&E waiting times were achieved 65% of the time

Performance rates against targeted A&E waiting times were achieved 54.8% of the time


1 in 10 of the new and unplanned patients waited longer than 12 hours to be admitted, treated or discharged home


Can You Sue A&E for Waiting Too Long for Treatment?

Accident and Emergency claims are common-place medical negligence cases, which enable patients to seek accident and emergency compensation. The most frequent causes of negligence within the A&E department are as follows:

  • Delayed treatment

  • Misdiagnosis

  • Surgical mistakes and errors

  • Incorrect medication

  • Incorrect treatment/care plan

  • Misinterpretation of scans, tests and exams results

  • Substandard medical investigations being conducted

  • Substandard patient examinations being conducted

  • Poor postoperative care

  • Hospital infections

Our Experience

At PA Duffy & Co, our expert medical negligence solicitors have wide-ranging experience with accident and emergency negligence claims, including those relating to the misdiagnosis and delayed treatment of:

  • Appendicitis

  • Cancer

  • Wrist fractures

  • Hip fractures

  • Intra-operative injuries during surgery

  • Sarcoma

  • Retained placenta following childbirth

Will My A&E Compensation Claim be Successful?

For any A&E medical negligence claim in Northern Ireland to be successful, two tests must be satisfied: breach of duty and causation.

  • Breach of duty

To establish breach of duty, there must have been treatment or care provided by a medical practitioner which was ‘negligent,’ or otherwise below the reasonable standard expected for a medical professional. This may include the misinterpretation of the results of a scan or X-Ray or misdiagnosis. For example, there may have been an identifiable hip fracture in a scan, but this was missed by the consultant.

  • Causation

To satisfy the test for causation, it must be proven that the harm you have endured was a direct result of the medical practitioner’s breach of duty.

For example, the bones which were fractured (but not identified) and have now grown in a way which has caused irreparable damage. In other words, but for the practitioner’s misdiagnosis, the hip bones would have repaired correctly upon treatment.

If the tests for breach of duty and causation are both satisfied it is likely that the injured party will be eligible to make an A&E compensation claim.

Is there anything else I should know about A&E Compensation Claims?
Statute of Limitations

If you believe that you have suffered injury due to medical mistake or malpractice and are considering bringing an A&E medical negligence claim, it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

In Northern Ireland, for adults, proceedings for A&E must be issued within 3 years from the date of your injury, or from your date of knowledge (that is, when you became aware of the injury suffered).

If the injured party is a minor (under 18 years old), this three-year limit begins on the date of their 18th birthday.

What are the Initial Steps of Making a A&E Compensation Claim?

When you get in touch with our friendly and experienced medical negligence solicitors, you will need to explain the circumstances surrounding your injury and when it occurred.

The next steps will involve making requests and obtaining your medical records. Once we have reviewed these and have fully assessed the merits of the case, with your consent, we will instruct an independent medical expert to provide a report.

Once the report has been received, your solicitor will be able to advise you on the next steps of your claim, such as initiating court proceedings.

How Much Compensation Will I get?

If your claim is successful, the amount of compensation you would receive is dependent on a variety of factors. The court usually take the following points into consideration:

  • The severity and type of injury sustained

  • Costs of ongoing medical treatment and care

  • Loss of earnings, including the loss of future earnings such as pension losses

  • The costs of making adaptations to your home, e.g. installing a stair lift

Contacting Our Expert Medical Negligence Solicitors (Belfast & Dungannon)

Our expert medical negligence team understands the emotional and physical impact that A&E medical injuries can have on injured parties. In appointing PA Duffy & Co Solicitors, you are guaranteed to receive top-quality legal services and support throughout the duration of your claim.  

If you are considering bringing a claim for A&E medical negligence compensation, please do not hesitate to contact us or make an enquiry online. 

Contact Us

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028 8772 2102Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
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