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Seanad Éireann Private Members Business
Wednesday 15 February 2017

That Seanad Éireann

Recognising that:

· 632,000 patients were on published and unpublished hospital waiting lists at the end of January 2017;

· Under the current waiting list system, waiting lists for outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests, day case and inpatient procedures vary drastically from one public hospital to the next; and

·  Patients do not know where they stand on the list nor at what speed their list is moving relative to that of other hospitals within reasonable travelling distance; and

·  People with comparable health concerns can wait very different lengths of time for assessment and treatment depending on what hospital they happen to be initially referred; and

And further notes

· The success of the integrated IT system used in the Portuguese NHS which has, alongside greater investment in public hospitals, delivered significant and sustained reductions in waiting times for surgery since it was first introduced in 2004; and

· That the 2013 OECD publication, ‘Waiting Time Policies in the Health Sector: What Works?’, over five years waiting lists for surgery have decreased by almost 35%, the median waiting times by almost 63% and variation across providers is also diminishing;

Calls on the Minister for Health to explore the feasibility of a new model to maximise the capacity of the public hospital system and introduce fairness and strategic management across all waiting lists, the component parts of which should be:

· The provision of a Core Activity Budget to public hospitals; and
· Increased overall capacity for the public health system; and
· An end to the special treatment of private patients in public hospitals; and
· The introduction of a new and single Integrated Hospital Waiting List Management System

[Senators Rose Conway Walsh, Paul Gavan, Máire Devine, Trevor O Clochertaigh, Niall O Donnghaile, Padraig MacLochlainn]