Royal College of Surgeons response to Northern Ireland waiting times statistics for January - April 2019
30 May 2019
Commenting on the latest Northern Ireland Department of Health waiting time figures, Mr Mark Taylor, Director for Northern Ireland at the Royal College of Surgeons, said:
“We must never lose sight of the fact that the waiting list numbers represent patients, in pain and discomfort, who are being made to wait far longer than is acceptable for the treatment they need.
“While the transformation agenda and the creation of regional elective care centres, such as those for cataracts and varicose veins which opened earlier this year, are vital, they will not solve spiralling waiting lists on their own.
“There is a growing gap between patient demand and the capacity of our health system to meet that demand.
“Earlier this month, Richard Pengelly, the Permanent Secretary for Health, delivered the stark news that the public in Northern Ireland should not expect a change to waiting times any time soon. He warned that eradicating waiting lists would require a sustained cash injection of between £700 million and £1 billion.
“There is a real onus on our political leaders, currently locked in negotiations to bring about the return of the Assembly, to put aside differences and establish local government as quickly as possible to assist in the massive task ahead.
“It will only be with political leadership, sustained funding and ongoing transformation of our health and social care service that we will bring about the necessary reduction in these waiting lists.”
Notes to editors
1. Full data available here: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/topics/dhssps-statistics-and-research/hospital-waiting-times-statistics
2. In March 2018, £30 million in ‘transformation funds’ were released as part of the confidence and supply arrangements between the DUP and Conservatives. These funds were targeted at the reduction of waiting time pressures.
3. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.
4. For more information, please contact the RCS Press Office on: 020 7869 6052/6047; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org