Thousands on waiting list to be assessed by health Trust

Dolores Kelly.
Dolores Kelly.

More than 9,000 people are on a waiting list to be assessed by various health professionals in the southern Trust including physio and speech therapy.

Almost 4,000 alone are waiting to be assessed by a physiotherapist.

Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly had asked the Minister for Health Jim Wells how many people are on a waiting list for a first assessment by each Allied Health Profession, in each programme of care in the Southern Trust.

It also revealed there was a long waiting list for speech and language therapy particularly for children.

A spokesperson for the Southern Trust said: “At the end of February 2015, there were approximately 3,700 people being managed on a waiting list for Physiotherapy across the whole of the Southern Trust area.

“Whilst this number may appear large, it is to be expected that a service that accepts and treats approximately 30,000 patients per year, will at any point in time be managing a waiting list of this size. The majority of patients are seen within the regionally agreed waiting time of nine weeks, although fluctuations in demand can mean that on occasions, this time is exceeded.

“The Trust is currently participating in a regional review of all Allied Health Professions (AHPs) capacity & demand led by The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB). This exercise is reviewing current staffing levels, referral numbers/trends as well as referral criteria and the arrangements in place to ensure that patients are seen as soon as possible with waiting times kept to a minimum.”