Fri, 03 Dec 2021

The Department of Health today published the quarterly Northern Ireland Inpatient, Day Case and Outpatient Waiting Times Statistics, relating to the position at 30 September 2021.

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 2021

Waiting Times for a First Outpatient Appointment

  • The 2021/22 Ministerial target relating to outpatient waiting times states that by March 2022, 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 358,346 patients were waiting for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment at HSC Trusts, 2.7% (9,479) more than at 30th June 2021 (348,867) and 9.5% (31,157) more than at 30th September 2020 (327,189).

  • In addition to the 358,346 patients waiting for an appointment at HSC Trusts, 13,980 patients were waiting for their first consultant-led outpatient appointment at a Day Case Procedure Centre (DPC) for cataract or varicose vein treatment.

  • Over four fifths (83.8%, 300,451) of patients were waiting more than 9 weeks for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment at 30th September 2021, compared with 82.0% (285,937) at 30th June 2021 and 84.9% (277,776) at 30th September 2020.

  • Over half (52.5%; 188,060) of patients were waiting more than 52 weeks for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment, compared with 53.0% (184,873) at 30th June 2021, and 47.5% (155,497) at 30th September 2020.

  • During the quarter ending September 2021, there were 81,016 attendances for a first outpatient appointment, a decrease of 2.5% (2,088) on the number seen during the quarter ending June 2021 (83,104), and 43.8% (24,695) more than during the quarter ending September 2020 (56,321).

Waiting Times for Inpatient and Day Case Admission

  • The 2021/22 Ministerial target, for inpatient and day case waiting times, states that by March 2022, 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 116,199 patients were waiting to be admitted to hospitals in Northern Ireland, 2.9% (3,284) more than at 30th June 2021 (112,915), and 16.5% (16,481) more than at 30th September 2020 (99,718).

  • An additional 3,374 patients were waiting for treatment at a Day Case Procedure Centre (DPC); 2,441 patients were waiting to be admitted to a Cataracts DPC, with a further 933 patients waiting to be admitted to a Varicose Veins DPC.

  • Over four-fifths (82.3%, 95,669) of patients were waiting more than 13 weeks to be admitted for treatment, compared with 81.1% (91,608) at 30th June 2021 and 83.6% (83,381) at 30th September 2020.

  • Almost three fifths (58.1%, 67,474) of patients were waiting more than 52 weeks for either an inpatient or day case admission, compared with 58.7% (66,287) at 30th June 2021, and 46.5% (46,417) at 30th September 2020.

  • During the quarter ending September 2021, 30,994 patients received inpatient and day case treatment, 9.0% (3,055) fewer than during the quarter ending 30th June 2021 (34,049) and almost a quarter (24.2%, 6,043) more than during the quarter ending 30th September 2020 (24,951).

Waiting Times for a Diagnostic Service

  • The 2021/22 Ministerial target for diagnostic waiting times states that, by March 2022, 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 147,543 patients were waiting for a diagnostic test, 1.5% (2,242) more than at 30th June 2021 (145,301), and 8.2% (13,123) fewer than at 30th September 2020 (160,666).

  • More than half (55.5%, 81,832) of patients were waiting more than 9 weeks for a diagnostic test, compared with 52.4% (76,184) at 30th June 2021 and 65.4% (105,088) at 30th September 2020.

  • A third (32.9%, 48,499) of patients were waiting more than 26 weeks for a diagnostic test compared with 33.4% (48,543) at 30th June 2021 and 44.8% (71,968) at 30th September 2020.

Diagnostic Reporting Turnaround Times

  • The draft 2021/22 Ministerial target for diagnostic reporting times states that, by March 2022, all urgent diagnostic tests should be reported on within two days of the test being undertaken.

  • A total of 421,544 diagnostic tests were reported on and dispatched to the referring clinician at hospitals in Northern Ireland during the quarter ending September 2021, 1.6% (6,942) fewer than the quarter ending June 2021 (428,486), and 23.3% (79,610) more than the quarter ending September 2020 (341,934).

  • Of the 84,697 urgent diagnostic tests reported on during quarter ending June 2021, 75.8% (64,190) were reported on within 2 days.                                                      
  • The Western HSC Trust reported the highest proportion of urgent tests within two days (86.3%), with the other HSC Trusts reporting between 66.4% (Northern) and 83.6% (Southern) of urgent tests within 2 days. 

More Belfast News

Access More

Sign up for Belfast News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!