The causes of NI’s serious waiting list backlog have been well documented.
Waiting times have been escalating since 2014, as pressures on the health budget meant limited funding was available to suppress waiting time growth.
Significant and sustained investment will be needed to address the backlog.
In addition, longer term transformation reforms will be vital to make sure the problem does not recur.
Transformation is underway and will undoubtedly involve some difficult decisions. Consolidating some hospital services in regional centres of excellence will improve capacity and help the health and social care system keep up with growing demand.
Notes to editors:
1. 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.
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