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Dáil Éireann - Private Members Business (Fianna Fáil)
Tuesday 30 May 2017

“That Dáil Éireann:
— that more than 660,000 people are on a hospital waiting list;

— that there are in excess of 100,000 outpatient appointments outstanding for over a year as of May 2017;

— the establishment, in January 2015, of maximum permissible waiting times for inpatient/day case treatment and outpatient appointments of 18 months by 30th June, 2015 and 15 months by the end of 2015;

— that these targets were not met and still have not been met;

— that 46,629 outpatients were on the waiting list for more than 18 months in April 2017; and

— that 5,770 patients were on the inpatient and day case waiting lists for more than 18 months in April 2017;
further notes:
— the very great distress and pain being suffered by people enduring long periods on hospital waiting lists;

— the fact that the long waiting times are further exacerbating the clinical conditions needing treatment thereby producing more pain and suffering; and

— that such long waits are not only intolerable and excruciating for the patients, they are also counterproductive and a waste of health service resources and lead to poorer clinical outcomes and increased mortality;

— the deplorable and dangerous overcrowding that continues to be experienced in hospital emergency departments;

— the record number of patients waiting on trolleys, particularly the frail elderly, during the first four months of 2017;

— that such overcrowding results in further delays in scheduled hospital treatments and essential surgery, thereby further worsening the waiting lists; and

— the comments by the Director General of the Health Service Executive (HSE) that should the trend in presentations to emergency departments continue that all work will be emergency work and hospitals will be unable to accommodate elective work; and

calls on the Government and the HSE to:
— hold each hospital chief executive accountable for the open disclosure of accurate data on waiting lists in each hospital;

— make transparent to the public the monthly progress from each hospital on waiting list figures, giving specific detail on outpatient waiting lists, access to diagnostic waiting lists and elective surgery lists;

— ensure each hospital group present monthly updates on waiting list progress of each hospital in their region making transparent the difference between those patients awaiting a clinical procedure or elective surgery or an appointment to be seen in an outpatient clinic;

— ensure that each hospital review the scheduling and utilisation of outpatient clinic space;

— ensure that each clinical director meets with each and every consultant providing outpatient clinics and elective treatment to examine the scheduling of clinics and procedure lists to match scheduling to demand;

— schedule elective diagnostic investigations seven days a week;

— schedule elective surgery seven days a week;

— open without delay all ward beds that have been closed;

— expedite the bed capacity review and expand it to include a review of outpatient clinic capacity and utilisation;

— examine the potential for hospitals without 24/7 emergency departments to increase their elective work;

— direct the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) to publish all other waiting list data on a monthly basis as per the criteria used in the waiting lists currently published;

— immediately provide scheduled procedures under the NTPF and maximise the use of private capacity in this regard;

— utilise the existing community hospital network more efficiently to help prevent admissions to acute hospitals by facilitating direct admissions by general practitioners to these facilities, to facilitate post-operative discharges from acute hospitals and to work as an interface between the acute sector and the Fair Deal Scheme; and

— commit to upgrades of the community hospitals network to help alleviate pressure in general hospitals.”

— Billy Kelleher, Bobby Aylward, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, James Browne, Mary Butler, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Shane Cassells, Jack Chambers, Lisa M. Chambers, Niall Collins, Barry Cowen, John Curran, Stephen S. Donnelly, Timmy Dooley, Sean Fleming, Pat the Cope Gallagher, Seán Haughey, John Lahart, James Lawless, Marc MacSharry, Micheál Martin, Charlie McConalogue, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Aindrias Moynihan, Michael Moynihan, Eugene Murphy, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Darragh O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, Éamon Ó Cuív, Willie O'Dea, Kevin O'Keeffe, Fiona O'Loughlin, Frank O'Rourke, Anne Rabbitte, Eamon Scanlon, Brendan Smith, Niamh Smyth, Robert Troy.