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Waiting Times

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My Waiting Times NI provides patients with average waiting time information by Health and Social Care Trust and by Specialty across Northern Ireland.

This is to support you while you wait and helps you to prepare for your hospital consultation.

This information can be viewed by anyone, which means you, your family or carer can all see the latest information.

Your waiting time will depend on the hospital service you have been referred to and your individual needs. Patients are managed and treated based on clinical priority. We will aim to see you as soon as possible, but you may have to wait a while for your appointment.

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It will be updated on the first Thursday of each month with the latest waiting time information.

You can find out more in the frequently asked questions below.

  • What happens when we receive your referral?

    A specialist will review your referral and decide the level of clinical priority and you will then be placed on a waiting list until you can been seen by the relevant clinical professional.

    On occasion, the clinician reviewing your case may decide to send you for some tests in the first instance, or may add your name directly to the waiting list for a procedure.

    The booking process should be carried out in line with the regional Integrated Elective Access Protocol.

  • How are patients prioritised?

    Patients on the waiting list are prioritised based on their clinical symptoms and these are reviewed by a clinical professional and their urgency is determined, with the most urgent patients being seen first.

    In most cases, this will be patients suspect cancer pathways (also sometimes called red flag), then urgent patients and routine patients thereafter.

    When being referred to a service, the person making the referral should tell you what category you have been referred as, although this may be changed by the person reviewing your referral in the Trust service.

  • How will I know if I’m on the waiting list?

    Once a referral is received into the Trust, you will receive a text message or letter acknowledging receipt of your referral.

  • How long will I have to wait?

    It is difficult to give an exact waiting time as the waiting lists change daily and are based on clinical priority, however we can provide you with average waiting times.

    The average waiting times for each Health and Social Care Trust by specialty are published by the Department of Health on My Waiting Times NI and these waiting times are updated on the first Thursday of each month.

    This webpage provides average waiting times for new outpatient assessments, elective treatments and endoscopy procedures within each Trust.

  • Where can I check the waiting times?
    • Visit My Waiting Times NI
    • Search the Health and Social Care Trust that is managing your care
    • Access outpatient waiting times for specialties
    • Select the specialty you are waiting for
    • Access the average waiting times

    Average waiting times display in level of priority, e.g. red flag, urgent or routine

  • How soon will I get an appointment?

    When you are at the top of the waiting list, you will be contacted to arrange an appointment which could be face to face or virtual. For some specialties, a fixed appointment date and time will be given.

    You should also receive a letter to confirm the specialty, date, time and location of your appointment.

    Patients will be booked in accordance with the Integrated Elective Access Protocol (IEAP).

  • Can I get a cancellation appointment?

    If a patient cancels, we offer the appointment to the next person on the waiting list.

  • Can I cancel or change my appointment?

    Yes, if you wish to cancel or change your appointment, please contact us on the telephone number provided on your letter.

    Alternatively, you can contact the switchboard and be transferred to the relevant booking office or service.

  • What do I do if I cannot attend my appointment?

    If you are unable to attend for any reason on the date and time offered, please let us know as soon as possible.

    Please telephone the number provided on your letter or contact the hospital switchboard and ask for the relevant booking office or service.

    All contact details are listed at the bottom of this page.

    If you fail to turn up for your appointment without letting us know in advance, you will be classed as DNA (Did Not Attend) and will be referred back to your GP.  If you still feel you need to be seen, you will need to consult your GP again and seek re-referral.

    Unfortunately, every month around 10 percent of patients fail to turn up for their appointment. It is estimated that each outpatient appointment costs around £160. If you miss your slot, you are not only wasting resources but also stopping another patient from getting the opportunity to attend. Using up another GP slot is also wasteful and means another patient will not be able to get an appointment so please either attend for your appointment or let us know if you cannot attend.

  • I haven't received any communications, who should I contact?

    If you haven’t heard from the Trust, please contact our switchboard and ask to be put through to relevant booking office or service to check the status of your referral.

    We will not remove you from the waiting list unless you advise us or do not respond to our messages or letters.

    Whilst waiting for an appointment, we may contact you to check if you wish to remain on the waiting list.

  • If my condition gets worse whilst I’m waiting, who should I contact?

    If your clinical condition changes, please notify your GP who can arrange an updated referral to the Trust.  A specialist in the Trust will review your updated referral and decide the level of clinical priority. Please note, your GP cannot speed up your appointment for any other reason.

  • If waiting times are shorter in another Health and Social Care Trust, can I move to their list?

    Patients will receive their treatment in order of clinical priority. Moving to another hospital or Trust does not mean that you will receive treatment any quicker and, in some circumstances, could mean having to repeat certain tests, investigations or appointments which would mean waiting longer.  We would encourage patients to remain under the care of their existing hospital. Should capacity become available elsewhere to be treated earlier, then the hospital will be in touch with patients directly to discuss the options.

  • Why is the average waiting time for urgent patients longer than routine patients in certain specialties?

    There are particular specialties / sub specialties where the number of urgent referrals are relatively small. Any delay in booking these appointments e.g. due to a hospital or patient cancellation, could mean that the average urgent waiting time appears longer than the routine waiting time in that particular month.

  • I no longer require treatment, how do I request removal from the waiting list?

    Sometimes patients request to be removed from the waiting list as they have been treated elsewhere or they no longer require the appointment. If that is the case, please telephone the number on your letter or alternatively telephone the hospital switchboard and ask to be put through to the relevant booking office or service.

    All contact details are listed at the bottom of this page.

  • Who do I contact if my personal details have changed?

    Please contact us if there are any changes to your name, address or telephone number – phone the telephone number provided on your letter or our switchboard and ask to be put through to relevant booking office or service.

  • Contact Information
    Partial Booking Telephone Numbers

    Partial Booking (Medical/Surgical) – 0287 1611 309

    Orthopaedic/Ophthalmology – 0287 1296 191 / 0287 1296 192

    Omagh/Enniskillen Partial Booking – 0288 2833 666

    Waiting Times Office Telephone numbers

    Endoscopy scheduling – 0287 1610 780

    Ophthalmology scheduling – 0286 6382 066

    Altnagelvin Waiting Times Office – 0287 1320 112

    SWAH Patient Access Team – 0286 6382 215

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