Find out how long you'd have to wait for hospital treatment in Northern Ireland

'My Waiting Times NI' will tell patients how long they're likely to have to wait for treatment Credit: PA

A new online system has been launched in Northern Ireland allowing patients to check how long they are likely to wait for a specialist hospital appointment.

The service known as ‘My Waiting Times NI’ will eventually be expanded to also provide the latest waiting time information for procedures, treatment and diagnostics.

The system will updated on the first Thursday of each month with the latest waiting time information.

Find out how long you’d have to wait here.

It comes as Department of Health Permanent Secretary Peter May said waiting lists across the country “remain entirely unacceptable.”

Figures released on Thursday showed 'some progress' in waiting times. They showed 121,879 patients waiting for surgery or treatment, with half waiting over a year.

Northern Ireland Director of the Royal College of Surgeons of England Professor Mark Taylor expressed grave concern at the "sky-high" figures.

He said transformation was needed, alongside better planning, a long term budget and a stable political environment.

He said: “At the heart of these figures are people who are suffering, and it is devastating to know these lists are not dramatically improving. As clinicians we see first-hand the disappointment and frustration of our patients when we say we must prioritise lists and that they could be facing very long waits."

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Northern Ireland’s waiting lists are a result of years of sustained pressure with demand for care and treatment outstripping hospital capacity.

“Additional funding has been made available in recent years to support a range of waiting list initiatives and we were beginning to see some stabilisation of the situation. However the current budget deficit means that this additional investment will be at a lower level this year. Regrettably, this will have an impact on waiting times.

“We are acutely aware of the consequences of waiting times for patients and their families. We also recognise the additional frustration when people do not have easily accessible information on how long they will have to wait. This new webpage should provide some clarity to patients, their families and carers.

“GPs and other primary care teams, such as dentists and pharmacists, will also have access to the information which should help them have more informed conversations with their patients.”

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