I acknowledge that waiting times are often unacceptably long and I am conscious of the burden that this places on patients and their families.
Reducing waiting times for the longest waiting patients is one of this Government's key priorities. Consequently, Budget 2017 allocated €20 million to the NTPF, rising to €55 million in 2018.
In order to reduce the numbers of long-waiting patients, I asked the HSE to develop Waiting List Action Plans for 2017 in the areas of Inpatient/Daycase, Scoliosis and Outpatient Services. The Inpatient/Daycase Action Plan is being delivered through a combination of normal hospital activity, as well as insourcing and outsourcing initiatives utilising NTPF funding. Under the Inpatient/Daycase Plan, since early February, over 25,000 patients have come off the Inpatient/Daycase Waiting List.
The NTPF has advised that, to date, 6,906 patients have been authorised for treatment in private hospitals under its initiatives, 2,683 patients have accepted an offer of treatment in a private hospital, and 1,309 patients have received their procedure. The NTPF has also indicated that 3,161 patients have been authorised for treatment in public hospitals under the Plan’s insourcing initiatives, 1,106 offers of treatment have been accepted and 436 patients have been treated.
Under the Outpatient Plan, since early February, over 89,000 patients have come off the Outpatient Waiting List.
In response to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.