There has been a sharp rise in the number of people who have had to wait longer than they should for a first outpatient appointment in NI hospitals.
Department of Health figures state that 8,500 people had to wait more than the recommended target of nine weeks.
For the same time last year, the number waiting stood at about 500 people.
It is understood 3,289 patients had to wait more than 13 weeks to be admitted to hospital for treatment.
A total of 600 people waited more than 21 weeks.