DUP South Antrim MLA and Vice-Chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly Health Committee Pam Cameron has said the waiting list data points to a little told story about the impact of covid-19 on other areas of the Health Service and the need to reboot non-covid treatments.
Commenting, Mrs Cameron said:
“These figures, which cover the period of lockdown, are a solemn reminder of the impact of Covid-19 on those living across Northern Ireland desperately who continue to await an appointment with a consultant or a date for non-covid treatment or surgery.
During the period ending June 2020, 25,638 fewer people received inpatient and day case treatment and nine out of ten patients were waiting more than 9 weeks for a first consultant-led outpatient. At the same time the results of 172,993 fewer diagnostic tests were completed and reported.
We should remember that behind every delay is a person and a family experiencing added distress and uncertainty about what the future holds.
The sad but unavoidable reality is that for some patients the restoration of routine services will have already come too late in their fight against illness. This is something the Minister and HSCTs must urgently grapple with as we seek to prevent further harm and the possibility of new and deadly pandemic of non-Covid related illness in the coming months.
These are days of unprecedented challenge for our health officials and frontline staff and we are thankful for skill and dedication.
We recognise the ongoing work toward rebuilding services, including recent announcements on day surgery and orthopaedics and expected progress on cancer services.
The public are rightly demanding greater clarity on the timetable for putting this into action.
Looking ahead it is essential that the Minister addresses these issues head on.”