Waiting times for non-urgent specialised medical care have come down in Finland: compared with the situation at the end of December, the number of patients waiting for treatment for more than six months has decreased by 1,200 during the spring. Compared with the same period in 2016, the number of those who have been waiting for treatment for a long time decreased by more than 200. The situation is now better than ever before during the 10-year follow-up period. The information can be found in statistics collected from 20 hospital districts and 23 specialised medical care units provided through primary healthcare and compiled by the National Institute for Health and Welfare.
At the end of April 2017, there were 113,772 patients queuing for non-urgent specialised medical care provided by the hospitals of healthcare districts. Of these, 744 (0.7%) had been waiting for non-urgent care for more than six months. The most common reasons for being in the queue were a cataract operation, knee or hip replacement, or inguinal, umbilical or ventral hernia operation.
The number of hospital referrals has risen since 2016, indicating a rise in the demand for non-urgent care. Between January and April 2017, the hospital districts processed almost 400,000 referrals. The number of referrals increased by 11 per cent (38,647) compared with the same period in 2016. In relative terms, the number of cancer referrals grew the most. There are significant hospital district-specific differences in the development of the number of referrals.
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