Almost 90,000 patients on Northern Ireland's hospital waiting lists
ALMOST 90,000 patients are waiting to be admitted to hospitals in Northern Ireland, according to new figures.
Statistics released last night by the Department of Health also reveal that thousands of patients, as of March 31, were also waiting more than 13 weeks to be admitted for treatment.
Ministerial targets state that 55 per cent of patients should wait no longer than 13 weeks for treatment, with no-one waiting longer than 52 weeks.
But 65 per cent (56,871) of patients were waiting longer than 13 weeks.
More than a quarter (22,350) also missed the 52 week target for either an inpatient or day case admission.
The figures also show that a total of 87,450 patients were waiting to be admitted to hospitals in Northern Ireland - 8.5 per cent more than the same period last year.
In a statement, the department of health statement said: "The causes of Northern Ireland's serious waiting list backlog have been well documented.
"Waiting times have been escalating since 2014, as pressures on the health budget meant limited funding was available to suppress waiting time growth.
"Significant and sustained investment will be needed to address the backlog.
"In addition, longer term transformation reforms will be vital to make sure the problem does not recur.
"Transformation is underway and will undoubtedly involve some difficult decisions.
"Consolidating some hospital services in regional centres of excellence will improve capacity and help the health and social care system keep up with growing demand."