Health Minister Simon Hamilton today announced a further £30m of additional funding to go directly towards tackling waiting lists.
This follows on from
the investment of £40m at the end of 2015 and an extra £2m recently announced
to assist autism waits. Mr Hamilton has also revealed that provisional waiting
list times for February 2016 show that the number of people waiting for
inpatient and outpatient appointments is falling.
The Minister said: “It
is unacceptable that people are waiting too long, and dealing with these
waiting lists is one of my key priorities.
“That is why for the
early part of 2016/17 I am allocating a further £30m to continue tackling
waiting lists. This additional funding will support up to 25,000 additional
assessments and some 12,000 additional treatments across a wide range of
specialities including orthopaedics, gastroenterology, neurology and ENT.
“Importantly it will
see a £10m investment in diagnostic services, building capacity to support up
to 50,000 additional tests to help meet increasing demands as well as
supporting seven day services.
“Our Trusts already
provide 600,000 inpatient and day case admissions, and 1.5 million
consultant-led outpatient attendances each year. But it is clear that it will
take time and significant non recurrent and recurrent investment to bring
waiting lists back to an acceptable level whilst simultaneously increasing
capacity to meet increasing demand. My commitment today to an additional £30m
is an important step to ensuring continued progress.
“This further £30m
follows the Executive’s earlier allocation of £40m. The combined £70m will
ensure in the region of 150,000 extra assessments, tests and procedures. Also
many children awaiting assessment for autism will benefit from the £2m I
recently allocated for this specific area.
for February 2016 show that those waiting more than 18 weeks for an outpatient
appointment have fallen by 6% and those waiting longer than 26 weeks for an
inpatient day case has fallen by 13%. It is clear that the investments we are
directing towards waiting lists are making a difference. Slowly but surely we
are getting to grips with waiting lists.”
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