Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (643)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

643. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm that waiting times for a consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon at Our Lady's Hospital Navan County Meath increased from eight months to 12 months between last October and November (details supplied); if he will provide in tabular form waiting times presently at January, July and December 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30844/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Improving access to outpatient services is a key priority for the Government. Collaborating with individual hospitals, the SDU, together with the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) and the HSE, has developed the outpatient waiting list minimum dataset. This allows 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 and the NTPF will work closely with hospitals towards achievement of the maximum waiting time. Should a patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he or she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant and hospital involved. In relation to the specific hospital appointment query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.