Hospital Waiting Lists: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

The following motion was moved by Deputy David Cullinane on Tuesday, 28 September 2021:
That Dáil Éireann:
recognises that:
—there was an alarming rise in healthcare waiting lists from 461,908 in 2014 to 740,712 in January 2020;
—waiting lists have spiralled out of control since January 2020 to 814,345 in August 2021, rising to 907,648 including planned procedures;
—210,740 people are waiting more than 18 months on inpatient and outpatient waiting lists;
—a further 203,976 people are on radiology diagnostic waiting lists for CT, MRI and ultrasound scans;
—more than 98,000 children are on hospital waiting lists, including 31,216 children waiting more than 18 months; and
—children with additional needs are forced to wait on average 19 months for an assessment of need, despite the legal right of three months;
notes that:
—in excess of €300 million will likely go unspent on vital community and primary care service expansion to ease the burden on hospitals;
—more than 150 promised acute inpatient and critical care beds are unlikely to be operational by year-end; and
—mental health services are not fit for purpose in the context of the looming pandemic mental health crisis;
further notes that:
—the recent high profile Sláintecare resignations are a vote of no confidence in this Government’s commitment and ability to deliver major healthcare reform; and
—the latest Sláintecare Implementation Strategy & Action Plan 2021 — 2023 notes major obstacles to the delivery of key Sláintecare measures, including a plan to tackle waiting lists;
reaffirms its commitment to:
—universal healthcare with universal general practitioner care and universal counselling; and
—the removal of private healthcare from public hospitals to free up public capacity for public patients; and
calls on the Government to:
—urgently implement a waiting list reduction and management plan;
—commit major funding to the rapid modernisation of healthcare information systems,including individual health identifiers, an integrated waiting list management system and a centralised referral system; and
—deliver major capacity boosting measures including additional inpatient and critical care beds next year, a capital fund for expanding theatre capacity, and the modernisation and expansion of diagnostic capacity with direct community access.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and substitute the following:
“notes that:
— the population aged 65 and over has increased by 35 per cent since 2009, with the result that there have been increasing levels of demand for health and social care services;
— arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, which broke out in March 2020, routine scheduled acute hospital care had been severely curtailed during the periods when surges occurred, and capacity reduced generally for reasons of social distancing and infection control measures;
— arising from the Health Service Executive (HSE) ransomware cyber attack, which occurred in May of this year, these services were further seriously disrupted as hospitals endeavoured to maintain emergency and urgent time-critical services;
— other jurisdictions have experienced increased pressures on waiting lists due to the Covid-19 pandemic; and
— notwithstanding the enormous challenges facing the health care system, it is projected that acute waiting lists will be reduced, from a peak of 740,000 in May, at the end of the year through the implementation of a waiting list recovery plan, which is being finalised;
acknowledges:
— the commitment in the Programme for Government: Our Shared Future to the implementation of the Sláintecare Plan;
— the major investment made this year to tackle waiting lists through the establishment of the Access to Care Fund of €240 million;
— the increase of permanent bed capacity of 795 beds to date, with a target of 938 by the year-end;
— the increase of 44 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds to date, with a target of 66 ICU beds by the end of the year, a 25 per cent increase over the level at the beginning of 2020;
— that the National Development Plan provides for health capital projects, including 2,600 acute hospital beds and 4,500 social care beds;
— the measures taken to ensure national coverage of community intervention teams and structured general practitioner access to diagnostic programmes;
— the additional allocation of €50 million to commence implementation of the recommendations of Sharing the Vision - A Mental Health Policy for Everyone, and €15 million once-off funding to combat Covid-19 related issues in mental health services;
— the implementation of a new standard operating procedure to ensure that children with disabilities have timely access to assessments of need and interventions;
— the progress made in relation to the Individual Health Identifier;
— the increased investment in the health services, including an increase of 6,000 more whole-time equivalent staff, with 2020 and 2021 seeing the biggest annual growth in staff since the HSE was established;
— that a multiannual plan to reduce waiting lists and bring waiting times in line with Sláintecare targets is being developed; and
— the publication of the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy & Action Plan 2021 — 2023: Progress Report January – June 2021, which shows that the Government is largely on track with its implementation; and
agrees to:
— the continued implementation of the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy & Action Plan 2021 — 2023, to which the Government is committed and has the support of all parties; and
— support the Government’s measures in relation to the waiting list recovery plan for this year and the finalisation of the multiannual waiting list plan.”
- (Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Mary Butler)

I must now deal with a postponed division relating to amendment No. 1, in the name of the Minister for Health to the Sinn Féin motion on hospital waiting lists. On Tuesday, 28 September 2021, on the question that the amendment be made, a division was claimed and in accordance with Standing Order 80(2), that division must be taken now.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 77; Níl, 65; Staon, 0.

  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Costello, Patrick.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowe, Cathal.
  • Devlin, Cormac.
  • Dillon, Alan.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Duffy, Francis Noel.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frankie.
  • Flaherty, Joe.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Foley, Norma.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Higgins, Emer.
  • Hourigan, Neasa.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Leddin, Brian.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Matthews, Steven.
  • McAuliffe, Paul.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noonan, Malcolm.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Joe.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connor, James.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Gorman, Roderic.
  • O'Sullivan, Christopher.
  • O'Sullivan, Pádraig.
  • Ó Cathasaigh, Marc.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Smyth, Ossian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Varadkar, Leo.

Níl

  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Berry, Cathal.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Carthy, Matt.
  • Clarke, Sorca.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Cronin, Réada.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Pa.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Paul.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Mairéad.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Gannon, Gary.
  • Gould, Thomas.
  • Guirke, Johnny.
  • Harkin, Marian.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kerrane, Claire.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Mythen, Johnny.
  • Nash, Ged.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Callaghan, Cian.
  • O'Donoghue, Richard.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Darren.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Patricia.
  • Shanahan, Matt.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Duncan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Tully, Pauline.
  • Ward, Mark.
  • Whitmore, Jennifer.
  • Wynne, Violet-Anne.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Jack Chambers and Brendan Griffin; Níl, Deputies Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and Denise Mitchell.
Amendment declared carried.
Deputy Holly Cairns did not vote in this division due to an agreed pairing arrangement with Minister Helen McEntee for the duration of the Minister’s maternity leave.
Question put: "That the motion, as amended, be agreed to."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 77; Níl, 65; Staon, 0.

  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Costello, Patrick.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowe, Cathal.
  • Devlin, Cormac.
  • Dillon, Alan.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Duffy, Francis Noel.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frankie.
  • Flaherty, Joe.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Foley, Norma.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Higgins, Emer.
  • Hourigan, Neasa.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Leddin, Brian.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Matthews, Steven.
  • McAuliffe, Paul.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noonan, Malcolm.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Joe.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connor, James.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Gorman, Roderic.
  • O'Sullivan, Christopher.
  • O'Sullivan, Pádraig.
  • Ó Cathasaigh, Marc.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Smyth, Ossian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Varadkar, Leo.

Níl

  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Berry, Cathal.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Carthy, Matt.
  • Clarke, Sorca.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Cronin, Réada.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Pa.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Paul.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Mairéad.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Gannon, Gary.
  • Gould, Thomas.
  • Guirke, Johnny.
  • Harkin, Marian.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kerrane, Claire.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Mythen, Johnny.
  • Nash, Ged.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Callaghan, Cian.
  • O'Donoghue, Richard.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Darren.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Patricia.
  • Shanahan, Matt.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Duncan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Tully, Pauline.
  • Ward, Mark.
  • Whitmore, Jennifer.
  • Wynne, Violet-Anne.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Jack Chambers and Brendan Griffin; Níl, Deputies Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and Denise Mitchell.
Question declared carried.
Deputy Holly Cairns did not vote in this division due to an agreed pairing arrangement with Minister Helen McEntee for the duration of the Minister’s maternity leave.