Published Monday, 02 December 2013
The statistics, based on research by the Save The Mid health campaigning group and by UTV, reveal that overall almost 600 people waited more than 24 hours in A&E rooms across Northern Ireland during the first eight months of 2013.
The ministerial target is to have 95% of patients treated in A&E within four hours - but in some cases patients are waiting six times that.
Six of the region's departments had two or fewer patients waiting more than 24 hours between January and August this year. They were Daisy Hill, the South West, Craigavon, Altnagelvin, the Mater and the Royal Victoria Hospital Children's Hospital.
One of them, the Southern Trust based at Craigavon Hospital, apologised to the "small number of patients who had to wait longer than normal in our Emergency Departments."
But the picture is very different when you look at the remaining five A&E departments - Downe, Lagan Valley, the Causeway, Antrim and the Ulster hospital in Dundonald - where numerous patients are waiting more than 24 hours.
The Ulster is the worst offender with 240 people, around 40% of its total patients, kept more than 24 hours in the waiting rooms.
In a statement, the hospital said they are under increased pressure because of changes to the health system recently and pointed out that the number 24-hour or more waits has gone down in recent months.
Meanwhile the Northern Trust said waiting times at both the Antrim and Causeway "have improved significantly as the Northern Trust implements its Improvement Plan."
Edwin Poots told UTV the figures aren't acceptable but must be taken in context.
He said that the figures "represent a tiny percentage of the number who pass through emergency departments" and added that "four out of five patients were seen and treated or admitted within four hours in September."
There are now concerns that, coming into winter and with the demands that puts on A&E departments, more people will have to wait very long times to be seen in hospitals.
Maeve Hully from the Patient and Client Council said: "I think it's not acceptable that people should wait this long in emergency departments and I think people are right to be worried and frustrated about these figures. It's really important that the Trusts do something about them."
© UTV News