The Department has repeatedly made clear that sustained investment is required to address the waiting list backlog.
The waiting times have been building up since 2014 as a result of wider financial pressures facing the Health and Social Care system.
With budgets increasingly stretched just to maintain existing services, funding to suppress waiting time growth has been in limited supply.
Alongside sustained investment, longer term action is also required to prevent the problem recurring.
That means transformation of health and social care – improving the capacity of the system to ensure that the growing demand for care is met. The gap between current capacity and demand will not be bridged in any other way.
Transformation initiatives include the establishment of day case elective care centres – new standalone specialist day surgery units. Centres for cataract and varicose veins have been operational since December 2018 and there are plans to transfer thousands of other day case routine operations to dedicated elective care centre locations by December 2020.
Notes to editors:
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