Patients have every right to expect and demand timely care.
Unfortunately, for reasons that have been well documented, our system is not currently configured to provide that.
The only sustainable solution to this is transformation.
In addition, further investment is required, in addition to the £30m funding announced earlier this year, to clear the backlog of patients waiting for treatment.
The investment this year has to date provided:
This investment has helped stem the growth in waiting lists and has led to a slight reduction in the total number of patients waiting for AHP treatment.
A combination of factors is contributing to the increase in waiting times – including growing demand for services and demographic change.
Alongside the need for additional investment, work is progressing to deliver transformation of hospital services designed to deliver increased productivity through the reorganisation of services. This includes the development of elective care centres – new standalone specialist day surgery units which have the potential to significantly improve patient access to care.
From next month, new prototype elective care centres will undertake routine day surgery for cataracts and treatment of varicose veins.
It is expected that the development of prototype elective care centres will have a significant impact on the number of patients treated. For cataracts, this could mean up to 2,000 additional treatments annually and for varicose veins this could mean up to 500 more treatments – an increase in productivity of up to 30% in both cases. The Department of Health has committed to moving all daycase surgery to new elective care centres by December 2020.
Additional training places have also been provided from the additional funding secured this year and include:
The Department of Health today (29 November 2018) published the quarterly Northern Ireland Waiting Times Statistics, relating to the position at 30 September 2018. All publications are available online at: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/topics/dhssps-statistics-and-research/hospital-waiting-times-statistics