Longest average wait for joint replacements in Western Trust with patients waiting over two years for surgery

Patients requiring joint replacement surgery in the Western Trust are waiting over two years on average - the longest waiting time in the north.

By Kevin Mullan
Friday, 6th August 2021, 2:15 pm

Health Minister Robin Swann confirmed that the average length of waiting time for joint replacement surgery in the Western Trust at March 31, 2021, was 111.7 weeks. The average in the north is 88.6 weeks.

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan has called for immediate action after Mr. Swann revealed 2,967 patients in the Trust were waiting what the Foyle MLA described as an ‘eye-watering’ length of time before going ‘under the knife’.

He said: “The SDLP has been clear that waiting lists for medical treatment across the North are a disgrace. As we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic there needs to be a strategic plan devised to clear these waiting lists and significant investment in our health service to ensure that nobody has to wait such excruciating long times for treatment in future. We must also ensure that such levels of crisis are never reached again.

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“In every trust patients are experiencing huge delays for joint replacement surgery. It will be of no surprise to the many patients waiting for surgery within the Western Trust, that it has the longest waits across the North at a staggering 111.7 weeks on average. We also have among the highest numbers of people on waiting lists.

“That’s almost 3,000 people here waiting more than two years to access treatment for painful and debilitating conditions- that should not be the norm. Across the rest of our trusts thousands are waiting well over a year.

“This just isn’t good enough. Anyone developing a joint problem that requires surgery in that area will now go to the back of a 3,000 people queue with a guaranteed wait of years. That isn’t the standard of healthcare we should be delivering to our citizens.”

The ‘Journal’ asked the Western Trust for a response to Mr. Durkan’s statement but none has been provided.