Northern Ireland waiting lists will result in unnecessary deaths

By Gillian Crotty

A national independent health charity has said that the hospital waiting list figures in Northern Ireland are shocking, unnecessary, unacceptable, and will result in patient deaths that could have been avoided.

The Nuttfield Trust advises governments around the world on health economics, and chief economist, Prof John Appleby, said "it is totally unacceptable in a health system in Northern Ireland to have the sort of numbers waiting as long as they wait." He added that none of the waiting list targets are being met, one in seven of the entire population of Northern Ireland was on an outpatient waiting list, and over 50,000 people had been waiting for an outpatient appointment for over a year.

Prof Appleby says that people in Northern Ireland are undoubtedly suffering and "may die on the waiting list when they needn't have to." He is concerned at the lack of response to the numerous reports that have been carried out over the years that all conclude that urgent action is required to avoid the situation becoming much worse.

Some figures about the Northern Ireland waiting lists:

  • 253,093 adults are waiting on their first outpatient appointment
    an increase of 17.6 per cent compared to last year
    53,000 of them have already waited for over a year
  • 70,000 patients are waiting on surgery
    9,600 of them have already waited for over a year


A recent survey of doctors suggested that waiting times for patients to see a GP could increase to 3 weeks.

If you have suffered injury or loss as a result of a delay in diagnosis or treatment, or as a result of receiving a poor standard of medical care, contact one of the clinical negligence solicitors at Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by clicking here to discuss your options to pursue a medical negligence compensation claim.