Craigavon waiting times rise 53 percent

Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc

Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc

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The amount of local patients missing the waiting time target for some hospital appointments has increased by more than a half.

The latest Southern Health Trust figures, which cover the Dungannon District, reveal that the number of patients waiting longer than 13 weeks to see an occupational therapist has increased from 126 at the start of 2014 to 194 at the end of the year.

The data, which was released last week at the Northern Ireland Assembly by the Department of Health, also shows that 17 percent of patients are now waiting longer than the government target time.

The waiting time figures are worst in the Western Trust area, where 1,316 patients are waiting longer than 13 weeks for an occupational therapist appointment.

Shockingly, some patients in the trust area have been waiting for almost a year to see an occupational therapist.

In the Northern Trust area, which covers the Magherafelt District, the picture was just as bad, with a total of 1,270 patients exceeding the target waiting time.

The Health and Social Care Board and Public Health Agency are currently working closely with the Trusts to address the waiting time issue.

“Work is ongoing to establish the level of demand for occupational therapy services and the capacity necessary to meet such demand in line with my challenging nine week access standard,” said Health Minister Jim Wells.