Patients in the Western Trust have been waiting for almost one year for both urgent and routine hip replacement operations and almost twice as long as their colleagues in other parts of the North, according to the latest available figures released by the Department of Health.
Health Minister Michelle O’Neill, who released the information in response to East Derry Sinn Féin MLA, Caoimhe Archibald, reiterated her view that waiting times were ‘unacceptably long.’
It’s emerged that the average waiting time in the Western Health and Social Care Trust for an urgent hip replacement at the end of last June, the most recent quarter for which official statistics were available, was 35.5 weeks.
Meanwhile, the average wait for a routine hip replacement in the Trust was 40 weeks.
This compared with 22.9 weeks for an urgent operation and 29.5 weeks for a routine operation in Belfast; and 15.9 weeks for an urgent operation and 24.8 weeks for a routine operation in the Southern Trust.
The Minister reiterated: “I am firmly of the view that the current waiting lists are unacceptably long.
“However, unless we tackle the root causes this will remain the case, as we have a 20th century model delivering services for a 21st century population.
“This is having an increasingly negative impact on the quality and experience of care.”
The Health Minister said the only way of alleviating pressure on health services locally was by reforming the service across the North.
“The long term solution is the transformation of our health and social care system as outlined in Delivering Together,” said the Minister.