Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Questions (148)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

148. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the waiting lists for gynaecologists per speciality and hospital nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24364/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. Budget 2019 announced that the Government has further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (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 treatment and outpatient appointments. The plan will place a strong focus on a number of high-volume procedures. When combined with HSE activity, it is projected that the NTPF will be in a position to offer treatment to all clinically suitable patients waiting more than 6 months for one of these high-volume procedures.

A key element of the Plan is the stabilisation of the Outpatient Waiting List. Under the Plan the HSE, in line with the National Service Plan, will aim to deliver 3.3 million outpatient appointments, of which approximately 1 million will be first appointments. Under the plan the NTPF will use €6 million to deliver 40,000 first Outpatient appointments.

The plan includes a target that the number of patients waiting for a first Outpatient appointment will fall from over 516,000 at the end of 2018 to under 509,000 by the end of 2019. This target takes into account the more than 800,000 new patients who will be added to the Outpatient waiting list in 2019; a figure that is based on trends for the previous two years.

While the meeting of short-term targets is always welcome, more can be achieved and, in this regard, the HSE, Department of Health and NTPF, under the Access Plan, will work together with the objective of developing medium-long term improvement initiatives for patient access to hospital procedures. This will include moving care to more appropriate settings and providing care at the lowest level of complexity such as providing ophthalmology in the community; maximising the use of Advanced Nurse Practitioner led clinics; and physiotherapists to manage orthopaedic clinics.

The data requested by the Deputy is outlined in the document attached. It should be noted, as advised by the NTPF, that the Dublin Maternity Hospitals (Holles Street, the Coombe, and the Rotunda) do not submit full waiting list data to the NTPF. The Coombe and the Rotunda only submit Outpatient data, while Holles Street does not submit any data.

The data requested by the Deputy is outlined in the document at the link.

Gynaecology waiting procedures list