Local Ulster Unionist Councillor, Derek Hussey, says the revelation one in five people in Northern Ireland are on hospital waiting lists is deeply concerning.
Alderman Hussey, who represents the Derg Electoral Area in Derry City and Strabane District Council area said: “Anecdotally, we regularly hear of individuals waiting ‘forever and a day’ to be seen in our Hospitals but at this time my colleague, Michael McGimpsey MLA, former Health Minister, has supported the perception with figures outlining the reality faced one in five of the population of Northern Ireland.”
The Castlederg based Ulster Unionist Councillor said: “I am particularly keen to localise this issue and am seeking the relevant statistics for our own Derry City and Strabane Council areas mindful that we are serviced both by Altnagelvin and the South West Hospital both within the Western Area.”
He made the comments after it was revealed that more than 20 per cent of people in Northern Ireland are now on a hospital waiting list.
The latest publication of waiting list statistics show that 373,000 people are currently waiting for a first outpatient appointment, a diagnostic test or inpatient treatment at hospitals in Northern Ireland.
Mr Hussey’s colleague and former Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said: “The gravity of situation is even more significant when one considers how long people have been waiting. There is an official Government target that nobody should have to wait more than 18 weeks for a first outpatient appointment yet the latest figures show that 86,000 people, or 40 per cent, have been waiting longer than this.
“These people often are waiting in pain, and no doubt such excessive delays in getting an appointment are causing huge emotional distress and worry.”