THE Western Health and Social Care Trust has apologised to all those who have been waiting more than nine weeks for an outpatient appointment, as it’s revealed over 5,600 patients in the Western Trust have been waiting over a year.
Statistics were released last week which showed that, as of December 31, there were almost 250,000 people waiting on a first consultant-led outpatient appointment across the North, over 47,000 of whom were waiting more than 52 weeks.
Of that figure, a total of 29,425 patients on the outpatient waiting list are here in the Western Trust. A total of 7,155 of the Western Trust patients were waiting up to six weeks, 2,420 were waiting between six and nine weeks, 2,074 were waiting between nine and 12 weeks, 1,690 between 12 and 15 weeks, and 1,291 were waiting between 15 and 18weeks.
The largest number of patients, a total of 9,144, were waiting between 18 and 52 weeks, while 5,651 were now waiting over a year.
In a statement issued to the Herald in response to these figures, a spokesman for the Trust said they were reviewing all patients who were referred and waiting over 52 weeks for an appointment.
“The Trust continues to chronologically manage all routine referrals from GPs, and urgent referrals are prioritised over these after review by clinical staff,” said the spokesman.
“The number of referrals from GPs for some specialities is greater than the level of commissioned and funded services within the Trust. In addition the Trust is continuing to manage workforce challenges including difficulties in filling consultant and middle grade vacancies and that does affect our capacity in some areas.”
They continued: “In 2016/17, funding has been received from HSCB to undertake additional Waiting List Initiatives in house which is aimed at reducing the number of patients waiting to be seen at an outpatient appointment.”
“HSCB has also provided additional funding to GPs to undertake a Locally Enhanced Service to review all patients referred who are waiting over 52 weeks in order to assure that the patient continues to require referral. Once this exercise is complete further reviews of the waiting list may be undertaken to assure the need for those on the OP waiting list continue to need a referral.”
“The Trust apologies to all patients who have to wait longer than 9 weeks for their Outpatient appointment.”
Posted: 9:56 am March 10, 2017