Average wait of 55 weeks
Around 1,000 people on the Isle of Man are waiting for an Ear, Nose and Throat appointment, with an average wait time of more than a year for a routine referral.
That's down, however, on the average 76 week waiting time recorded earlier this year.
The figures have been shared by Health Minister Lawrie Hooper following a Tynwald Question for Written Answer.
He says: "Through the Restoration and Recovery Programme Nobles Hospital’s ENT Unit undertook additional weekend clinics to reduce waiting times. Manx Care has utilised two ENT Consultants to undertake a clinical validation of the waiting list which has replaced some programmed clinics.
"This means that those patients waiting for a long period of time are reviewed and contacted by the Consultant to establish if the ENT symptoms, for which they were referred, have improved sufficiently for them to be discharged.
"This approach has led to a reduction in the wait time for ENT from 76 weeks to the current 55 weeks.
"Manx Care's also undertaking a Demand and Capacity review to identify what gap there is between current consultant capacity and demand from referrals.
"This will help determine whether additional staffing needs to be introduced to ENT, in the form of additional medical staff or a specialist nurse/practitioner."
The questioner, Onchan MHK, and former Health Minister, Rob Callister seems less enthusiastic about the decline in waiting time.
In a comment on social media, he wrote: “I tabled the following question to the Health and Social Care Minister after two constituents were advised of a 3 to 4 year wait to see an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist after a referral from a GP - the Department says the wait is 55 weeks and we should be grateful because it has come down from 76 weeks….”