While it has been widely reported that waiting times continue to grow, there has been little focus on the lived experiences of people who are waiting for sometimes urgent and life-saving care. This week saw the launch of “Our lived experience of waiting for healthcare – People in Northern Ireland share their story”. Chief Executive, Maeve Hully explains more.
Waiting for healthcare is a frustrating and worrying experience. People do not know how long they will wait. Deteriorating physical and mental health, worsening pain, loss of income and social isolation are just some of the issues that people are struggling to cope with as they wait for care.
Sustainable solutions that address this ongoing crisis are required, and clear and accurate information needs to be available immediately, so that people can make informed choices about their care.
Nora from Co Tyrone, shares her experience of being on a waiting list and Louise Skelly talks to BBC Good Morning Ulster’s Karen Patterson about what the Patient and Client Council is doing to help patients have their voices heard. Listen again at 1:50:02
Maeve Hully highlights the impact long waits are having on people's lives on U105's Frank Mitchell Phone In.
Actions that could be taken immediately to address and improve the experience of those who are currently waiting have been identified by those who took part in our report. These include:
- Honest conversations about the length of time people will wait so they can make informed decisions about their care,
- Ongoing communication with people to keep them informed of their waiting status,
- Regular updating of waiting lists so that they are an accurate reflection of the situation, and
- Better use of technology to improve communication between patients and professionals and professional to professional.
Thank you to all those who shared their experiences. We will continue informing the Department of Health, and Health and Social Care service decision makers on the issues raised by patients and their families.