Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 19th March 2013.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 3:30 pm, 19th March 2013

As I said, the number of consultant cancellations is now sitting at 10·8%, and it was 12·3% in 2008-09.  Therefore, improvements have been made.  I think that the Member needs to understand that there will always be consultant cancellations.  That can happen because of ill health, consultants being engaged in emergency work or having spent the previous night carrying out emergency work and are, therefore, unable to fulfil an appointment.  It might also be because consultants have been called on to carry out further training, which is an important element of their work.  Therefore, there are a number of reasons why consultants have to cancel their appointments.