Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Questions (246)

Thomas P. Broughan


246. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health his plans to increase access to the weight management programme and bariatric surgery during 2018; the number of persons who accessed the programme in each of the years 2015 to 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4938/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Reducing waiting times for the longest waiting patients is one of this Government's key priorities. Waiting times are often unacceptably long and I am conscious of the burden that this places on patients and their families.

Budget 2018 allocated a total of €55 million for the National Treatment Purchase Fund, NTPF, and more than doubles the 2017 allocation of €20 million. The HSE and the NTPF are currently preparing 2018 waiting list action plans for 2018, with a specific focus on reducing the number of patients waiting the longest for inpatient and daycase procedures.

In addition, Budget 2018 also announced funding under the winter measures in 2017, which facilitated the roll out of further waiting list initiatives. In this context, the HSE has targeted key areas and specialties where there are patients in need of complex high-cost care. This includes additional funding to support the purchase of equipment and consumables for bariatric surgery in St Vincent's University Hospital which will provide the basis for provision of additional activity in 2018.

I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in respect of the particular issues raised.