Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Questions (228)

Mary Butler


228. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health his plans to reduce the outpatient waiting list for neurology at University Hospital Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40640/18]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Improving waiting times for hospital procedures and outpatient appointments is a key commitment in the Programme for Government.

In 2018, the HSE expects to deal with a total 3.3m out-patient attendances at an overall ratio of new to return patients of 1:2.5. The HSE also advises that in 2017 almost half a million (479,000) outpatients did not attend their appointments. The establishment, earlier this year, of the central validation office in the National Treatment Purchase Fund is an important development in this regard.

My Department is engaging with the HSE and the NTPF to finalise an Outpatient Action Plan. This Plan will aim to reduce the growth in the number of patients waiting for outpatient services through improving the accuracy of the waiting list and trialling NTPF funded interventions, including weekend and out of hours clinics. NTPF has invited proposals from Hospital Groups and as of end of September had approved almost 12,700 outpatient appointments.

In relation to the specific query raised in relation to plans to reduce the neurology waiting list at University Hospital Waterford, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.