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Statement on Publication of Elective Care Waiting Times

2018-02-22

The latest elective waiting time figures (October to December 2017) again show that Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care (HSC) system is under huge pressure and the waiting times experienced by many patients continue to be unacceptable.

A combination of factors – including a growing older population, an increased demand for services, and new specialist treatments – means there simply isn’t either the money or required staffing levels to sustain the current model of care.

While additional investment, if available, would allow us to bring waiting lists down in the short to medium-term, the only long-term answer is to continue to transform services.

A range of transformation initiatives, highlighted in the Department of Health’s one-year update report on the strategy to tackle waiting times in Northern Ireland, show that progress is being made. These include primary care alternatives to hospital referrals which will enable patients to receive high quality assessment and treatment more quickly, and which will help to free up appointments and treatment for urgent and complex cases in secondary care.

Rolling out such new pathways across Northern Ireland will require funding support, as part of the drive to transform care.

NOTES:

Financial Pressures

Transformation Initiatives

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