28/11/2019

'It's Time To Declare A Health Care Emergency'

The latest official healthcare figures have revealed the continued misery facing patients across Northern Ireland.

Publication of the most recent waiting time statistics has prompted calls to declare a health care emergency, as it emerges that over 300,000 people are on a waiting list to see a consultant.

The figure represents an all time high for Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

While targets state that at least 50% of patients should wait no longer than nine weeks for their first outpatient appointment, 75.9% (232,239) have been waiting longer, and over 35% have waited over a year.

The same backlog exists when it comes to waiting lists for diagnostic services and inpatient and day case admission.

At the end of September, some 140,237 patients were left waiting for a diagnostic appointment, with 56.9% of those left without a diagnosis for longer than nine weeks.
News Image
According to Ministerial guidelines, 75% of patients should be seen within those first nine weeks. Almost 18,000 more people were awaiting confirmation of their condition in September than in the same period last year.

Ulster Unionist Party Leader Steve Aiken MLA said it's time to declare a healthcare emergency, as the crisis deepens and scale of human tragedy grows.

"Never before in the 70-year history of the NHS in Northern Ireland have things been so serious," Mr Aiken said. "With every passing month our waiting times, across almost every speciality and patient type, are getting worse.

"Crisis is no longer a strong enough word to describe what is happening - it's now a healthcare emergency and it needs to be officially declared as such."

As the region continues to suffer the longest waiting times felt in any UK region, Mr Aiken said the situation is bringing local patients to harm.

"There is no doubt that the health of local patients is being harmed by these spiralling delays," he continued. "Our waiting times would simply not be tolerated anywhere else."



(JG/MH)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

16 November 2020
Covid-19 Patients Are Not Being Prioritised Over Other Patients
Covid-19 patients are not being prioritised over patients with other conditions, according to a new Department of Health (DoH) 'Mythbuster' initiative. The DoH has issued the first in a planned series of 'mythbusters', correcting inaccurate claims about Covid-19.
29 April 2022
Veolia Ireland Announces Recruitment Campaign
Veolia Ireland, a leading environmental services company has announced that it is recruiting for 60 positions to join its almost 700 strong team across the island of Ireland.
03 May 2022
Queer Greens Launch 2022 Assembly Election Manifesto
The Green Party NI's Queer Greens group has announced the publication of its 2022 Assembly election manifesto, outlining the Party's priorities for LGBTQ+ rights in Northern Ireland.
02 September 2005
Outpatient hospital waiting list figures rise
The number of people waiting for a first outpatient appointment has increased in the last three months by almost 6%. The figures published by the Department of Health revealed that the number of patients waiting for an initial outpatient consultation had risen by 9,385 to 176,523, an increase of 5.6% on the previous quarter.
22 May 2017
Concerns Raised Over Adult Mental Health Patients
The number of adult mental health patients waiting longer than nine weeks to access key services has more than doubled from 338 in March 2016 to over 800 in March 2017, according to new figures. Ulster Unionist Mental Health spokesperson, Robbie Butler MLA, warned that mental health patients could be coming to harm.