May 18, 2022

Communications with patients on healthcare waiting lists

We have launched an Own Initiative investigation into how Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care Trusts communicate with patients on healthcare waiting lists.

Our investigation will examine whether patients are told;

  • if they have been added to a waiting list,
  • if their case is classed as ‘urgent’ or ‘routine’, and;
  • how long they might have to wait before being seen.

It will also look at whether and how often patients are updated while on a waiting list.

We will look at a number of previous complaints made to our office, as well as taking new evidence from members of the public via an online survey. The survey is currently available in Lithuanian, Polish and Romanian. Should an alternative language or format be required, or should you require assistance from a member of our staff to complete the survey, please contact or 028 90336773.

Our investigation will also review the current guidance from the Department of Health to see if it is being applied consistently across the Trusts.

The Terms of Reference of the investigation can be found here.

The Ombudsman’s final investigation report, which may include recommendations to the Department of Health and the Trusts, will be made public upon completion.

Click on the video below for a short overview of this investigation from Ombudsman Margaret Kelly.