In 2011, I established the Special Delivery Unit in my Department as set out in the Programme for Government. The aim of the SDU is to unblock access to acute services by improving the flow of patients through the system. The SDU's Scheduled Care Team focused initially on waiting times for in-patient and daycase elective surgery. For 2012, a target was set that no adult should wait longer than 9 months for inpatient or daycase treatment. By the end of December 2012, the number of adults having to wait more than 9 months for inpatient and day case surgery nationally had fallen to 86. This was down from 3,706 in December 2011, representing a 98% decrease
I am determined that the progress made in 2012 be maintained and improved upon. For 2013, the target is that no adult should be waiting longer than 8 months for inpatient or daycase treatment. It is important to recognise that the progress made in 2012 does not mean the problem is solved, and 2013 will of course be extremely challenging. For example, winter pressures in Emergency Departments have impacted on scheduled care waiting times. However, in the coming months, as winter pressures ease, the SDU will work towards re-balancing scheduled care to maintain the improvements seen in 2012 and to achieve the new 2013 target.
I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy in regard to the specific hospital referred to.