Health Minister Simon Hamilton has welcomed provisional figures which show that waiting times in Northern Ireland are falling.
The latest provisional waiting time figures for outpatient appointments and admission for treatment as at the end of February 2016 show significant reductions compared to the end of December 2015.
Those waiting more than 9 weeks for a first outpatient appointment have fallen by over 14,000 and those waiting over 18 weeks, by over 11,000, around 9%. For inpatient or daycase treatment, the numbers waiting more than 13 weeks for admission has fallen by over 1,200, and 26 weeks, by over 2,700, a fall of just under 13%.
The Minister said: “I very much welcome this fall in the numbers waiting which is clear evidence that the investments we have made in November 2015 are now starting to bring real change in reducing the length of time people have had to wait. There is more to come. Most people will be seen during January to March so the full extent will not be clear until early 2016/17.
“I am committed to making real progress in reducing waiting lists. A combined total of £70million is being allocated to ensure in the region of 150,000 extra assessments, tests and procedures will be completed. Further change will take time and significant non recurrent and recurrent investment to bring waiting times back to an acceptable level.
“Our waiting lists are too long but reducing them is a key priority for me. These figures are evidence that our investment is working and I look forward to further positive progress.”