Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (339)

Robert Troy


339. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 190 of 18 April 2019, if a date for optical surgery will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [21386/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I am conscious that waiting times are often unacceptably long and of the burden that this places on patients and their families. In this regard I am committed to improving waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures.

Budget 2019 announced that the Government had further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €55 million in 2018 to €75 million in 2019.

The joint Department of Health/HSE/NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 was published in March and sets out measures to improve care for patients waiting for scheduled care in 2019 by reducing waiting times for inpatient, day case and outpatient appointments. 

The Scheduled Care Access Plan is a key pillar of the project plan to deliver on the Ministerial and Department’s 2019 Priority to improve Acute Hospital Waiting Times. The governance and oversight structures to oversee NTPF and HSE performance in the delivery against the targets set out in the Plan has been expanded to include a Working Group whose remit is to develop initiatives aimed at improving access for patients to scheduled care in a number of high volume specialities including Ophthalmology.

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.