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83,000 patients waiting longer than a year for a first appointment is frightening - Beggs

Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Roy Beggs MLA has said that the latest waiting times, which once again are the worst on record for the local NHS, are frightening.

Roy Beggs said:

“With every passing day the crisis in the local health service deepens. Whilst there were severe pressures two years ago, the situation today is wholly unrecognisable compared to even then.

“It is scandalous that at the end of March there were over 83,000 patients waiting for over a year for their first appointment with a consultant. The figure has more than doubled in just 18 months and it illustrates the scale of the pace at which the situation is deteriorating.

“The reasons for the worsening situation are still the same as they were 2 years ago – a rapidly ageing population, increased demand for services and a fundamental lack of funding.

“Whilst some people can talk wishfully of transformation and the myriad of immediate benefits that it would supposedly deliver – the blunt reality is that until the mismatch between demand and capacity is addressed then things will only continue to get worse.

'For as long as the situation continues to be tolerated through managed decline, more and more people are going to be forced to remain at home in significant pain and discomfort. The mantra of the NHS providing safe, sustainable and timely healthcare is becoming increasingly stretched and that’s just not good enough.”

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