Sun, 03 Jul 2022

The Department of Health today published the quarterly Northern Ireland Inpatient, Day Case and Outpatient Waiting Times Statistics, relating to the position at 31st March 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 NI Waiting Times at end of March 2022

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 358,807 patients were waiting for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment, 1.1% (4,051) more than at 31st December 2021 (354,756) and 7.1% (23,765) more than at 31st March 2021 (335,042).

  • In addition to the 358,807 patients waiting for an appointment at HSC Trusts, 15,247 patients were waiting for their first consultant-led outpatient appointment at a Day Case Procedure Centre (DPC) for cataract treatment.

  • Over four fifths (82.4%, 295,501) of patients were waiting more than 9 weeks for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment at 31st March 2022, compared with 84.6% (300,050) at 31st December 2021 and 83.9% (281,140) at 31st March 2021.

  • Over half (52.0%, 186,645) of patients were waiting more than 52 weeks for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment, compared with 52.6% (186,745) at 31st December 2021, and 56.6% (189,753) at 31st March 2021.

  • During the quarter ending March 2022, there were 90,466 attendances for a first outpatient appointment, an increase of 2.2% (1,951) on the number seen during the quarter ending December 2021 (88,515) and 40.8% (26,219) more than during the quarter ending March 2021 (64,247).

  • A new interactive HTML format of this publication will be released alongside the traditional pdf report. Any feedback on this new format is welcome, please contact Statistics@health-ni.gov.uk
     

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 122,820 patients were waiting to be admitted to hospitals in Northern Ireland, 2.3% (2,723) more than at 31st December 2021 (120,097), and 10.4% (11,611) more than at 31st March 2021 (111,209).
     
  • An additional 2,892 patients were waiting for treatment at a Day Case Procedure Centre (DPC); 1,975 patients were waiting to be admitted to a Cataracts DPC, with a further 917 patients waiting to be admitted to a Varicose Veins DPC.

  • Over four-fifths (81.5%, 100,041) of patients were waiting more than 13 weeks to be admitted for treatment a similar proportion to that at 31st December 2021 (81.5%, 97,850) and a lower proportion than that at 31st March 2021 (83.3%, 92,690).

  • Almost three fifths (56.9%, 69,831) of patients were waiting more than 52 weeks for either an inpatient or day case admission, compared with 57.8% (69,373) at 31st December 2021, and 61.4% (68,309) at 31st March 2021.

  • During the quarter ending December 2021, 35,008 patients received inpatient and day case treatment, 6.5% (2,128) more than during the quarter ending 31st December 2021 (32,880) and 40.1% (10,014) more than during the quarter ending 31st March 2021 (24,994).
     

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 156,270 patients were waiting for a diagnostic test, 5.7% (8,392) more than at 31st December 2021 (147,878), and 13.9% (19,035) more than at 31st March 2021.
     
  • More than half (50.7%, 79,297) of patients were waiting more than 9 weeks for a diagnostic test, compared with 56.6% (83,643) at 31st December 2021 and 56.7% (77,844) at 31st March 2021.
     
  • Almost a third (29.6%, 46,312) of patients were waiting more than 26 weeks for a diagnostic test compared with 33.6% (49,632) at 31st December 2021 and 37.4% (51,259) at 31st March 2021.

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 415,541 diagnostic tests were reported on and dispatched to the referring clinician at hospitals in Northern Ireland during the quarter ending March 2022, a similar number to the quarter ending December 2021 (415,630), and 13.9% (50,751) more than the quarter ending March 2021 (364,790).

  • Of the 87,549 urgent diagnostic tests reported on during quarter ending March 2022, 76.9% (67,305) were reported on within 2 days.
     
  • The Western HSC Trust reported the highest proportion of urgent tests within two days (86.5%), with the other HSC Trusts reporting between 70.6% (South Eastern) and 83.4% (Southern) of urgent tests within 2 days. 

 

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