In July 2011 I announced changes to the remit of the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), namely that its role would be changed to support the mission of the Special Delivery Unit (SDU). The NTPF/SDU are working closely with hospitals towards achievement of maximum waiting time targets.
I am advised that, as part of this work in 2012, funding was set aside from the 2012 NTPF allocation to support Waterford Regional Hospital in arranging initial consultations for a limited number of orthopaedic outpatients with the cooperation of Cappagh Hospital in Dublin. In doing so, it is never possible to predict with certainty, in advance of consultations taking place, whether all those outpatients will require further medical help, or to predict the cohort of patients who will require follow-on inpatient surgical intervention. In 2013, unlike previous years, any funding for such performance improvement initiatives is held within the HSE Vote. Hence, the hospitals involved agreed to an orderly transition of the initiative (that had already been commenced) in a manner that minimised any disruption to the patients involved and made best use of the patient appointments already held, while working within a budget now provided directly to public hospitals.
Hence, of the 1,871 patient referrals from Waterford Regional Hospital to Cappagh Hospital, 1,623 patients had their treatment completed at Cappagh while the remaining 248 will now have their treatment provided by Waterford Regional Hospital. I am advised that those patients who had been scheduled for either an outpatient appointment or a procedure at Cappagh Hospital, all are being rescheduled for appointments and treatment at Waterford Regional Hospital and the hospital is currently writing to these patients advising them that their care needs will be seen to as expeditiously as possible.