Improving access to outpatient services is a key priority for the Government. Collaborating with individual hospitals, the SDU together with the NTPF and the HSE have developed the OP waiting list minimum dataset that allows for data to be submitted to the NTPF from hospitals on a weekly basis and, for the first time, outpatient data is available on www.ntpf.ie. For 2013, a maximum waiting time target has been set of 12 months for a first time consultant led outpatient appointment and this is reflected in the HSE service plan. The SDU/NTPF will work closely with hospitals towards achievement of the maximum waiting time.
The management of inpatient and daycase waiting lists for patients awaiting public health care is based on the principle that after urgent and cancer patients are treated, then clinically assessed routine patients should be seen in chronological order (i.e. longest waiter first). Should the patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he/she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant and hospital involved.
In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy regarding an appointment/admission for an individual patient, as this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.