I propose to take Questions Nos. 310 and 334 together.
As set out in the HSE Service Plan for 2012, the access targets for 2012 in-patient and daycase treatment are as follows:
No adult should have to wait more than 9 months for an in-patient/daycase procedure date; no child should have to wait more than 20 weeks for an in-patient/daycase procedure date; no patient should have to wait more than 13 weeks (3 months) for a routine GI endoscopy procedure.
There have been significant improvements in access to scheduled care (elective surgery - in-patient or daycase) since the Special Delivery Unit (SDU) was formed. The SDU's Scheduled Care Team was tasked with improving access to elective surgery and lowering waiting lists and the most recent Progress Report on the New Access Targets, which set out progress towards the targets by the end of Q3, shows the following.
In-patient and daycase surgery
Overall waiting list numbers have decreased from 56,020 to 51,955, a drop of 7%; the number of adults having to wait more than 12 months is down from 2,732 to 408, a drop of 85%; the number of adults having to wait more than 9 months is down from 6,277 to 2,342, a drop of 63%; the number of children having to wait > 20 weeks is down from 1,712 to 670 a decrease of 61%.
The SDU began to tackle long waits for routine GI endoscopy services (i.e. scopes) in May 2012 and since May 2012 overall waiting list numbers for scopes have decreased from 13,349 to 8, 904, a drop of 33%. Those having to wait > 3 months (the target for 2012) have decreased from 5,062 to 1,711, a drop of 66%
Outpatients The initial priority for the SDU was trolley waits and daycases. It has now begun to work on improving access to outpatient services. The SDU is now working with the NTPF to build on the current work being undertaken by the HSE and to begin the systematic collection of outpatient waiting time data at an individual patient level. The collation and analysis of OP waiting time data in this standardised format will enable the SDU and NTPF to target resources towards those patients who are waiting longest and ensure that they are seen and assessed. In parallel with reducing the numbers of longest waiters, the SDU will also work with the HSE Clinical Programmes to reform the structure, organisation and delivery of OP services to ensure that the right patient is seen and assessed by the right health professional at the right time.