Royal College of Surgeons Critical of Northern Ireland Surgery Delays

The Royal College of Surgeons has asserted that patients in Northern Ireland are being forced to wait for excessive periods of time in order to receive surgery.

New data indicates that 55.3% of patients were waiting longer than 13 weeks to be admitted for inpatient or day case treatment.

And 12% of patients in Northern Ireland were forced to wait for over one year.

Responding to the figures, the Royal College asserted that the standard is nowhere near the current targets set for the health service.

And the Royal College of Surgeons has spoken out on the subject, emphasising the fact that many of those affected “are potentially very ill and anxious patients who are being made to wait too long for surgery. This is the true impact of waiting times spiralling out of control in Northern Ireland”.

There are also concerns about the recently published elective care plan.

Reformation of this document has included the removal of the 13-week target for inpatient and day case treatment, leaving only one remaining target related to the amount of time required to train patients.

Yet data from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland indicates that patients are waiting longer than ever before hospital outpatient appointments.

At the end of December, a total of 246,198 patients were waiting.

This is over 3,000 more than the same waiting list at the end of September 2016.

Meanwhile, around 72% of patients were waiting for longer than a nine-week period.

The government asserts that only a 50% figure for this performance category should be considered acceptable.

A spokesperson for the Royal College of Surgeons stated that the authoritative institution is extremely concerned about the state of healthcare in Northern Ireland.

“It has been over four years since the health service in Northern Ireland last met its 13 week waiting time target for inpatient and day case treatment and 10 years since the 52 week target was met. Currently over two thirds of patients are waiting more than 13 weeks for inpatient treatment.”

There is also evidence that waiting times for diagnostics are increasing.

105,316 men and women were waiting for a diagnostic service, according to the most recent figures, effectively an increase in excess of 3% annually.

Experts believe that these of worrying trends will continue until a substantial amount of money is invested in the health service.

Underfunding is an equally serious problem in Northern Ireland as within the rest of the NHS system in Britain.


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