Waiting times for hospital beds grow

A patient in a hospital bed. (David Jones/PA Wire)
A patient in a hospital bed. (David Jones/PA Wire)
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Waiting times for hospital beds in Northern Ireland continue to grow, new figures show.

The number of people waiting more than a year reached 22,350 on March 31 this year — a huge rise on the figure of 16,454 at the same time last year.

The figures are contained in the quarterly inpatient and day case waiting time statistics, published by the Department of Health at Stormont yesterday.

The total number of people waiting for a hospital bed in Northern Ireland was recorded as 87,450, which also represents a hefty increase on the equivalent figure for March 31 last year.

In a statement, the department repeated its calls for “significant and sustained investment” to address what it described as “the backlog”.

A spokesperson added: “Waiting times have been escalating since 2014, as pressures on the health budget meant limited funding was available.”