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.

The inpatient waiting list showed a 7% fall in the total number of patients waiting for inpatient treatment over the year - a decrease by 98 over the quarter to 47,425.

Commenting on the outpatient figures, the Health Minister Shaun Woodward said the increase was a "cause for concern".

"Although we have seen a considerable increase in the numbers treated over the last quarter, the health service should be able to cope with such increases in demand," Mr Woodward said. "Therefore later this year I will be announcing detailed proposals to tackle this problem and monitor progress in securing reductions in waiting times for these services.”

He said that the latest waiting list figures confirmed the "desperate need" for reform.

“These figures demonstrate why the announcement I made at the beginning of July to reform inpatient and daycase waiting lists was desperately needed," said Mr Woodward. “We should of course be pleased that 95% of inpatients/daycases and outpatients were seen in less than 12 months in the quarter to June 2005. However, these latest figures again demonstrate why it was essential at the beginning of July to introduce the alternative offer programme to end the intolerable misery facing patients waiting more than 12 months.

“They also demonstrate why every Trust in Northern Ireland is committed to meeting the target to have nobody waiting more than 12 months for inpatient or daycase treatment by March 2006."

Mr Woodward said that he was implementing "immediately" recommendations requiring every Trust to establish weekly arrangements for monitoring waiting lists and said that in certain circumstances patients would receive an alternative offer of treatment from the newly established Northern Ireland Patient Offer Centre.

Wile the number of patients waiting more than 12 months has decreased slightly, the number of patients waiting over 18 months has increased.

The Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke Association branded the figures "totally unacceptable," claiming that more than half of those waiting for a first cardiology appointment have to wait more than three months and that 8% of patients have to wait more than 12 months.

However, the Association welcomed the Minister’s decision to establish arrangements for monitoring waiting lists on a weekly basis.


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

01 August 2022
Over 9% Fall In Number Of Noise Complaints
The number of noise complaints received by district councils between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020 decreased by 9.6%, according to a report published today by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). Figures collated by district councils show that a total of 11,356 complaints were received in 2018/19, down 9.
01 August 2022
Third Person Arrested In Connection With Victor Hamilton Murder
Detectives investigating the murder of 63-year-old Victor Hamilton in Orkney Drive in Ballymena on Wednesday, July 27 have made a third arrest in the early hours of Sunday, July 31. A 33-year-old man Was arrested in the Portadown area on suspicion of murder, and remains in police custody.
04 August 2022
Appeal For Information After Buses Damaged In Downpatrick
The PSNI have issued an appeal for information following a report of criminal damage on a number of buses at the Ardglass Road area of Downpatrick. Sometime between 8.30pm on Thursday 28th July and 9am on Monday 1st August, it was reported that six buses parked in the area were damaged.
25 July 2022
Latest NIJobs Report Shows Market Has Stabilised
The Northern Ireland job market has stabilised while the demand for skills and roles remaining at an all-time high across some sectors, according to the latest 'NIJobs Job Report with Ulster Bank'.
07 September 2006
Minister welcomes drop in hospital waiting times
Health Minister Paul Goggins has today welcomed the sustained improvement in waiting times for hospital patients.