You might have heard in the news this week, waiting times for treatment and care continue to rise, but can anything be done to change this?
A number of years back we had very lengthy waiting times for specialities such as Orthopaedics and considerable work was done to reduce these. However, the situation is rapidly deteriorating.
On a daily basis people call the Patient and Client Council looking for help to establish where they are on the waiting list. The Health and Social Care Board publishes statistics regularly which demonstrate the performance against targets is worsening. We have been raising the issues on waiting times with the Health and Social Care Board and the Health and Social Care Trusts, yet it is difficult to find a solution.
Behind every statistic is an individual, and family whose lives are affected by having to wait. It is hard to hear the very real stories patients are sharing about the health, emotional and economic impacts of waiting.
Nevertheless, its crucial their voices are heard. We are concerned about the stress and anxiety put on people waiting for appointments.
People need to know what is being done to address this problem of increasing waiting times. We feel accurate, realistic information about waiting times is a starting point. People need clear information on what length of waiting time to expect. Good information could go a long way to helping people plan their future and make informed choices.
What do you think needs to be done to improve waiting times?