Northern Ireland

Patient waiting times have increased

hospital corridor
Image caption Inpatient admission waiting times were also up

Patient waiting times for outpatient appointments and diagnostic services in Northern Ireland have increased.

Department of Health ministerial guidelines say 80% of people should wait no longer than nine weeks for a first outpatient appointment.

At the end of June, 56,087 people, 38.5%, had waited more than nine weeks.

At the same time, 14,234 patients had waited longer than nine weeks for diagnostic services, an increase of 3,755 from the previous quarter.

A diagnostic service provides an examination, test or procedure used to identify a person's disease or condition.

Department of Health targets state no-one should wait longer than nine weeks for theses services.

All urgent diagnostic tests should be reported on within two days of the test being undertaken.

During the quarter ending in June, 91.8% of urgent diagnostic tests in Northern Ireland were reported, verified and dispatched within two days.

The target that 100% of all urgent tests should be reported within two days was not met.

The Department of Health said each trust managed to report on at least 88.7% of all urgent tests within two days, with the Northern Trust reporting on 97.8%.

Inpatient admission waiting times were also up.

The department target is that at least 80% of patients should wait no longer than 13 weeks for inpatient or day case treatment, and no patient should wait longer than 26 weeks.

Off the 50,330 patients waiting at the end of June, 35% had waited more than 13 weeks, with 5,485 waiting more than 26 weeks.

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