Steps being made to reduce hospital waiting lists


The South West Acute Hospital

The South West Acute Hospital

THE Western Trust has apologised for delays in Orthopaedic surgery and have moved to reassure the public they are working with the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) to reduce waiting times.


Delays in orthopaedic surgeries, such as hip operations, have been a recent bug bear of local councillors with Bernice Swift labelling them as, “simply not good enough” at this month’s council meeting.

In response to complaints, the Trust explained that Orthopaedic surgery is provided from Altnagelvin Hospital and it is currently experiencing an increase in waiting times for planned surgery. A spokesperson pointed out that this problem is not confined to Fermanagh.

“The Trust is working alongside its service commissioner, the HSCB, and is doing all that it can to reduce the waiting time for planned orthopaedic surgery. It is important to recognise that the demand for planned orthopaedic surgery across the whole of Northern Ireland is greater than the existing capacity to provide the service.”

She explained: “The service in the West was further affected by the fire incident at Altnagelvin Hospital in November 2012.

“Bed capacity for those patients requiring planned orthopaedic surgery was reduced by less than 50% following the fire incident (from 24 beds to 11). These changes were unavoidable and important for patient safety.

“There are approximately 1,500 cases treated each year in elective orthopaedics in the Western Trust. Currently, 223 cases are waiting longer than 30 weeks and the Trust has a plan in place to manage this position.”

In order to bring down waiting  times, the Trust is working with HSCB through the use of independent sector providers for those patients who are deemed clinically fit to have their surgery elsewhere.


There are also plans in place to  increase the current bed capacity by renovating existing wards.

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