Patient waiting lists fall in 2023, but miss overall target

The number of patients waiting longer than 10/12 weeks for a hospital procedure was reduced by 11% last year, but overall waiting lists only fell by 3%, below the government’s target of 10%. Department of Health figures show a 32% reduction in those waiting longer than 12 months, with over 54,000 patients affected. The average outpatient waiting time fell by 23% in 2023. Despite 126,900 more patients being added to waiting lists than projected, the overall waiting list was reduced. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly stated that without the Waiting List Action Plan, waiting list numbers would have increased significantly. At the end of 2023, 86% of patients were waiting less than the National Service Plan maximum wait time targets.

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