Access to outpatient waiting times is also a key priority and a maximum waiting time target has now been set that no-one should be waiting longer than 12 months for a first-time outpatient appointment. The setting of this target has been made possible by the considerable work done by the HSE and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) working in conjunction with the SDU. For the first time, clear and comprehensive data on outpatient waiting times is available (www.ptr.ie). The collation and analysis of outpatient waiting time data in a standardised format reveals the distribution of long waiters across all hospitals. In the first instance, this allows resources to be targeted towards those patients who are waiting longest, to ensure that they are seen and assessed. In parallel with reducing the numbers of longest waiters, the SDU will this year work with the HSE National Clinical Care Programmes to reform the structure, organisation and delivery of outpatient services to ensure that the right patient is seen and assessed by the right health professional at the right time.
In relation to the particular query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.