Northern Ireland

Over 54,000 wait more than nine weeks for appointments

More than 50,000 people in NI are still waiting more than nine weeks for their first outpatient appointment.

Over 35,000 patients have been waiting more than 13 weeks.

The figures from the Department of Health cover the final three months of 2010.

The total number of people waiting for a first outpatient appointment at the end of December 2010 was 124,589.

This represents a decrease of 4,246 on the number waiting at the end of September 2010 but a rise of 42,019 on the numbers waiting for the same period last year.

The figures also show that more than 2,000 people have been waiting more than 36 weeks for inpatient admission.

That figure is almost double the number of the previous three months.

The 2010/2011 ministerial target for outpatient waiting times says that by 31 March 2011, no patient should wait longer than nine weeks for their first outpatient appointment.

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