Northern Ireland’s hospital waiting list performance is the worst in the UK - with targets for cancer, A&E and planned operations not being met.
The news this week highlighted hospital waiting times across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The waiting times here are by far the longest when compared to other parts of the UK.
The BBC has launched an online NHS tracker that allows people to see how their local service is performing on three key targets:
Growing waiting times are a major concern for the people who speak to us. On a daily basis, we hear from people who are concerned about the length of time they are waiting for care. They share with us the personal reality behind these waiting list figures.
People talk about the worry, the emotional stress and the detrimental impact on their physical health while waiting for treatment. They are worried that the waiting will be dangerous to their long-term health outcomes.
As well as the health concerns, people are worried about losing their jobs or their ability to maintain their businesses if their physical health continues to deteriorate.
In the meantime, people try to cope by increasing their medication and pain relief.
Immediate and sustainable solutions to these overlong waiting lists need to be found.
Behind each waiting time statistic is an individual and often a family enduring significant levels of stress and anxiety.
People need more information about waiting times, so the BBC tracker is to be welcomed. But it is only one small part of the equation. The tracker is available on the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41483322
Information is also available on Emergency Department waiting times on the NI Direct website: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/emergency-department-waiting-times
Information on how to get treatment in the UK and other EU countries is also available from the Health and Social Care Board website: http://www.hscboard.hscni.net/travelfortreatment/
How would you like to be informed about waiting times?
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