Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (677)

Paudge Connolly


798 Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of people treated annually under the waiting list initiative since its inception in 1993; the reduction in waiting lists that occurred in speciality areas (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2266/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

The information requested by the Deputy is not readily available. Waiting list information compiled by my Department from health boards has concentrated on the numbers of persons on waiting lists and the length of time patients are waiting for treatment. The Deputy will be aware that the recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General on the waiting list initiative, WLI, has drawn attention to the difficulty of separating out waiting list elective activity from core-funded elective activity.

My Department is pursuing waiting list data collection and reporting procedures in the light of the Comptroller and Auditor General's report with the health boards, the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the national treatment purchase fund.

With regard to the specialties indicated by the Deputy, significant reductions have been achieved in these target specialties based on the most recent published data which is in respect of the position as at 30 September 2003. There were reductions of 49%, 45%, 42%, 38% and 16% in the number of adults waiting more than 12 months for in-patient treatment in the specialties of general surgery, gynaecology, orthopaedics, ENT and ophthalmology, respectively.