Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Questions (466)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

466. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Health the improvement in waiting times expected during 2018 for the 15,000 plus children waiting over a year for an outpatient appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9802/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The most recent NTPF figures published for January 2018  show that there was a total of 42,042 people on the Outpatient waiting list for hospitals in the Children's Hospital Group. 64% of these children (26,875) are waiting up to 12 months and 36% (15,167) are waiting over 12 months for a first Outpatient appointment.

The HSE has confirmed there have been challenges in addressing the OPD waiting times due to consultant resourcing issues, arising from retirements, vacancies and demand in single-handed consultant services, such as allergy and immunology.

The HSE have advised that two paediatric outpatients and urgent care centres at Connolly and Tallaght Hospitals, which are scheduled to open in mid July 2018 and 2019 respectively, should improve local access to urgent care and OPD services for children in the Greater Dublin Area.

It is acknowledged that the Outpatient Waiting Lists generally remains a challenge that needs to be addressed. It is worth noting that in 2016 the children's hospitals recorded that approximately 13% of patients did not attend their Outpatient appointment. This is something that must be tackled. A number of steps, including the commencement of a national waiting list validation project by the HSE, are being taken to ensure the lists are accurate and these efforts are to intensify in the coming months.

The following revised reply was received on 8 May 2018
The most recent NTPF figures published for January 2018  show that there was a total of 42,042 people on the Outpatient waiting list for hospitals in the Children's Hospital Group. 64% of these children (26,875) are waiting up to 12 months and 36% (15,167) are waiting over 12 months for a first Outpatient appointment.
The HSE has confirmed there have been challenges in addressing the OPD waiting times due to consultant resourcing issues, arising from retirements, vacancies and demand in single-handed consultant services, such as allergy and immunology.
The HSE have advised that two paediatric outpatients and urgent care centres at Connolly and Tallaght hospitals, which are scheduled to open in mid-July 2019 and 2020 respectively, should improve local access to urgent care and OPD services for children in the Greater Dublin Area.
It is acknowledged that the Outpatient Waiting Lists generally remains a challenge that needs to be addressed. It is worth noting that in 2016 the children's hospitals recorded that approximately 13% of patients did not attend their Outpatient appointment. This is something that must be tackled. A number of steps, including the commencement of a national waiting list validation project by the HSE, are being taken to ensure the lists are accurate and these efforts are to intensify in the coming months.