Wed, 07 Dec 2022

The Department of Health today published the quarterly Northern Ireland Inpatient, Day Case, Diagnostic and Outpatient Waiting Times Statistics, relating to the position at 30 September 2022.

The Waiting Times Statistics releases show detailed information on the number of people waiting for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment, a diagnostic test and inpatient or day case treatment at hospitals in Northern Ireland.

Key facts and figures for Northern Ireland Waiting Times at end of September 2022

Waiting Times for a First Outpatient Appointment

  • The draft 2022/23 target relating to outpatient waiting times states that by March 2023, at least 50% of patients should wait no longer than nine weeks for a first outpatient appointment, with no patient waiting longer than 52 weeks.
  • A total of 376,833 patients were waiting for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment, 3.8% (13,781) more than at 30 June 2022 (363,052) and 5.2% (18,487) more than at 30 September 2021 (358,346).
  • In addition to the 376,833 patients waiting for an appointment at HSC Trusts, 15,454 patients were waiting for their first consultant-led outpatient appointment at a Day Case Procedure Centre (DPC) for cataract treatment.
  • Over four fifths (82.0%, 308,954) of patients were waiting more than 9 weeks for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment at 30 September 2022, compared with 81.4% (295,346) at 30 June 2022 and 83.8% (300,451) at 30 September 2021.
  • Over half (50.3%, 189,437) of patients were waiting more than 52 weeks for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment, compared with 51.6% (187,257) at 30 June 2022, and 52.5% (188,060) at 30 September 2021.
  • During the quarter ending September 2022, there were 94,366 attendances for a first outpatient appointment, an increase of 0.3% (287) on the number seen during the quarter ending June 2022 (94,079) and 16.5% (13,345) more than during the quarter ending September 2021 (81,021).

Waiting Times for Inpatient and Day Case Admission

  • The draft 2022/23 target, for inpatient and day case waiting times, states that by March 2023, 55% of patients should wait no longer than 13 weeks for inpatient or day case treatment, with no patient waiting longer than 52 weeks.
  • A total of 123,791 patients were waiting to be admitted to hospitals in Northern Ireland, 0.9% (1,126) fewer than at 30 June 2022 (124,917), and 6.5% (7,592) more than at 30 September 2021 (116,199).
  • An additional 2,711 patients were waiting for treatment at a Day Case Procedure Centre (DPC): 1,750 patients were waiting to be admitted to a Cataracts DPC and 961 patients waiting to be admitted to a Varicose Veins DPC.
  • Over four-fifths (80.1%, 99,216) of patients were waiting more than 13 weeks to be admitted for treatment, a lower proportion than that at 30 June 2022 (80.5%, 100,619) and at 30 September 2021 (82.3%, 95,669).
  • More than half (55.4%, 68,565) of patients were waiting more than 52 weeks for either an inpatient or day case admission, compared with 56.4% (70,486) at 30 June 2022, and 58.1% (67,474) at 30 September 2021.
  • During the quarter ending September 2022, 39,602 patients received inpatient and day case treatment, 8.3% (3,039) more than during the quarter ending 30 June 2022 (36,563) and 26.5% (8,294) more than during the quarter ending 30 September 2021 (31,308).

Waiting Times for a Diagnostic Service

  • The 2022/23 draft target for diagnostic waiting times states that, by March 2023, 75% of patients should wait no longer than nine weeks for a diagnostic test, with no patient waiting longer than 26 weeks.
  • A total of 163,938 patients were waiting for a diagnostic test, 1.5% (2,472) less than at June 2022 (166,410), and 11.1% (16,395) more than at September 2021 (147,543).
  • More than half (52.7%, 86,463) of patients were waiting more than 9 weeks for a diagnostic test, compared with 52.6% (87,480) at the end of June 2022 and 55.5% (81,832) at the end of September 2021.
  • More than a quarter (27.0%, 44,196) of patients were waiting more than 26 weeks for a diagnostic test compared with 27.1% (45,082) at September 2021 and 32.9% (48,499) at September 2021.

Diagnostic Reporting Turnaround Times

  • The draft 2022/23 target for diagnostic reporting times states that, by March 2023, all urgent diagnostic tests should be reported on within two days of the test being undertaken.
  • A total of 434,954 diagnostic tests were reported on and dispatched to the referring clinician at hospitals in Northern Ireland during the quarter ending September 2022. Of these, 21.9% (95,309) were urgent tests and the remaining 78.1% (339,645) were routine tests.
  • Of the 95,309 urgent diagnostic tests, 76.0% (72,476) were reported on within 2 days.
  • The Western HSC Trust reported the highest proportion of urgent tests within two days (87.6%), with the other HSC Trusts reporting between 65.3% (South Eastern) and 83.7% (Southern) of urgent tests within 2 days.

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