Improving waiting times for hospital procedures is a key commitment in the Programme for Government and €75 million was allocated to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) in Budget 2019 to provide treatment for patients.
The waiting list figures for December 2018, show that the number of patients on the inpatient and daycase waiting list at the end of the year stood at 70,200. From a peak of 86,100 in July 2017, this represents a reduction of over 18% in the overall number of patients waiting for a procedure
Since July 2017 the number of patients waiting longer than 3 months has fallen from just under 58,000 to 40,200 at the end of December 2018. This is a decrease of 31% and at the lowest level since 2014.
I hope to publish the joint Department of Health/HSE/NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 for inpatient, day case and outpatients shortly. The plan will ensure an appropriate balance between high volume activities and offering treatment to complex long-waiting patients. It will reflect activity targets from the HSE, in line with the National Service Plan, to reduce waiting times across specialties and improve access to appointments and procedures. The plan will also set out activity levels for the NTPF in line with their increased allocation of funding in 2019.
The NTPF will deliver this activity through working with hospital groups and individual hospitals as well as private health providers to maximise the number of patients treated in both a public and private capacity. Under the Plan the NTPF has committed to make offers of treatment to patients waiting for one of 75 hospital procedures, which will include orthopaedics. The longest waiting patients who are clinically suitable for one of these targeted procedures will be offered treatment in 2019.
The table in the link below provides a breakdown by specialty of the number of patients as at the end of December 2018 awaiting an Inpatient or Day Case procedure. These figures are published by the NTPF on their website ntpf.ie