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Hospital Waiting Times A Sign Of Crisis In Health Service

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Causeway Hospital
Causeway Hospital

The publication from the Dept. of Health on their quarterly waiting time statistics up until 30/6/17 was released last week.

Speaking to Causeway Coast Community this morning, Councillor McCandless said “These statistics detail the no. of people who are waiting for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment, a diagnostic test and inpatient or day case treatment at hospitals in Northern Ireland. It is worrying reading.

Official targets exist for treatment across all patient types and specialities because it is medically accepted that the longer people are forced to wait for treatment , the greater harm they may ultimately come to.
The number of people who are waiting for longer than is medically safe has now grown to an unprecedented and terrifying level. The reality is we have crossed the point beyond which people will be coming to avoidable harm as a result of the delays they are facing.

If we drill down into one of these statistics, the figures for Accident & Emergency the report shows a less than impressive figure for the Causeway Hospital with a figure of 66.6% the lowest statistic for patients waiting less than 4 hours to be seen. This figure comes behind Antrim and Altnagelvin by 9% and 11% respectively.

The maximum waiting time target was increased last year from 18 to 52weeks. This situation can only be considered as nothing other than an unprecedented crisis. The fact that the no. of people waiting longer than 52 weeks for their appointment with a consultant has more than doubled from 30,000 to 64,000 over the last 12 months, illustrates just how quickly the situation is deteriorating.

Many of the £70M worth of cuts announced by the local health and social care trusts two weeks ago will directly exacerbate these already awful performance times.
S.F. continue to put politicking ahead of the welfare of local patients. Surely placing more value on an Irish language act than a safe local health service is ludicrous and Michelle O’Neill as a former Health Minister will know exactly the impact the current impasse is having on patients.

A Health Minister needs to be in place now to take decisive action to protect patients.

The tragic reality is patients are coming to harm as a result of the crisis in the health service.”

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