Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Questions (168)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

168. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the medically advised waiting time for cataract surgeries compared to the waiting times for cataract surgeries nationally and per hospital in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24389/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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, and NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 was published on 11th March.

Under the Plan the HSE, in line with the National Service Plan, will deliver 1.155 million elective inpatient and day case discharges at a value of €1.4 billion in 2019. The Scheduled Care Access Plan includes:

- detailed plans from the NTPF to fund 25,000 IPDC treatments, 5,000 Gastro Intestinal Scopes and 40,000 outpatient first appointments.

- It is also projected that for ten identified high volume procedures, including cataracts, all clinically suitable patients waiting more than 6 months will be offered treatment in 2019. These 10 procedures account for over a third of the active inpatient day case waiting list and represent 60% of NTPF planned activity in 2019.

At the end of July 2017, the number of people waiting for a cataract procedure was 10,024. Under the Inpatient Day Case Access Plan 2018, Cataracts were one of the specialties targeted by the NTPF, and by end December 2018, the number of patients waiting had fallen to 6,440, a reduction of 36%. The number of patients waiting for a Cataract procedure at the end of April 2019 had further reduced to 6,151, with 582 patients waiting over 9 months. This represents a reduction of 3,789 or 87% when compared to July 2017, when there were 4,371 patients waiting over 9 months for a cataract operation.

Under the 2019 Scheduled Care Access Plan, all clinically suitable patients waiting longer than 6 months for a cataract procedure will be offered treatment funded by the NTPF.

In relation to the specific matter raised by the Deputy, the table provides a breakdown of the number of people awaiting cataract surgery by time band nationally by hospital at the end of April 2019, and I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on the medically advised waiting time for cataract surgery.

Waiting List for Cataract Procedures by Hospital by Wait Time Band as at 25/04/2019

0-3 Mths

3-6 Mths

6-9 Mths

9-12 Mths

12-15 Mths

15-18 Mths

18+ Mths

Grand Total

Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

493

468

319

42

8

10

15

1355

University Hospital Waterford

333

329

341

122

33

12

32

1202

Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital

523

265

89

43

10

6

8

944

Galway University Hospitals

309

274

118

18

1

1

3

724

Sligo University Hospital

192

201

139

25

32

7

19

615

South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital

195

162

128

27

4

1

1

518

St. Vincent's University Hospital

135

81

56

10

282

University Hospital Limerick

162

44

18

15

10

11

14

274

Nenagh Hospital

46

86

33

18

7

3

5

198

Letterkenny University Hospital

10

15

2

5

1

1

34

CHI at Temple St

2

1

1

1

5

Grand Total

2400

1925

1244

326

107

51

98

6151

Cancer Screening Programmes

Questions (169)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

169. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the protocols for women to make use of the rapid access pathways in cases in which they need urgent medical assistance after cervical cancer screening; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24392/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Deputy's question relates to service delivery matters. Accordingly, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to him.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (170)

Peter Burke

Question:

170. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied). [24405/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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.

General Practitioner Contracts

Questions (171)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

171. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the status of negotiations on the new general practitioner contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24406/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I am happy that we have been able to conclude an agreement with the IMO on a major package of GP contractual reforms which will benefit patients and general practitioners, and make general practice a more attractive career option for doctors.

Agreement has been reached on the provision of new services, including a structured chronic disease programme, commencing in 2020, which will benefit over 430,000 medical card and GP visit card patients. A wide-ranging set of modernisation measures has also been agreed in the areas of eHealth, medicines management and multidisciplinary working.

In return for cooperation with these service developments and reforms, the Government will increase investment in general practice by approximately 40% (or €210 million) over the next 4 years. This will see significant increases in capitation fees for GPs who participate in the reform programme and the introduction of new fees and subsidies for additional services such as the chronic disease programme.

There will be increased support for GPs working in rural practices and for those in disadvantaged urban areas. Improvements in the maternity and paternity leave arrangements have also been agreed, in recognition of the need to ensure that general practice is compatible with doctors’ family friendly commitments.

The HSE circular to GPs setting out the terms of the agreement has issued to doctors with GMS contracts, inviting each of them to sign up to the agreed reforms. The increased capitation fees will only be payable to those GPs who sign up to the revised terms.I hope to see the majority of GPs signing up to the agreement and benefitting from significantly increased resources later this year.

Hospital Services

Questions (172)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

172. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) who has undergone a lung transplant as a result of having cystic fibrosis will not be seen as a patient in St. Vincent’s Hospital which specialises in the care of the illness despite this patient still having cystic fibrosis and related illnesses such as diabetes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24409/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.

Patient Transport

Questions (173)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

173. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health if the HSE provides reimbursed transport or assistance in terms of transport costs to patients having to travel extensive distances for treatments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24415/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly. 

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (174)

John Curran

Question:

174. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health if the case of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24424/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) works with public hospitals, as opposed to with patients directly, to offer and provide the funding for treatment to clinically suitable long waiting patients who are on an inpatient/day case waiting list for surgery, having been referred on to such a list following clinical assessment by a consultant/specialist at an outpatient clinic.

The key criteria of the NTPF is the prioritisation of the longest waiting patients first. While the NTPF identifies patients eligible for NTPF treatment, it is solely on the basis of their time spent on the Inpatient/Daycase Waiting List. The clinical suitability of the patient to avail of NTPF funded treatment is determined by the public hospital.

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

Cancer Screening Programmes

Questions (175, 176, 177)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

175. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the wait time for women for smear test results by laboratory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24425/19]

View answer

Lisa Chambers

Question:

176. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the number of smear test slides waiting to be viewed by laboratory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24426/19]

View answer

Lisa Chambers

Question:

177. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health if he has sourced extra capacity to deal with the smear test backlog; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24427/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 175 to 177, inclusive, together.

In April 2018, following issues which had emerged in relation to the CervicalCheck screening programme, I made the decision to offer free out of cycle smears to any woman who was concerned about her health, where her GP felt she should have a further test as part of her reassurance. Approximately 112,000 consultations were provided by GPs, and 57,810 early repeat smear tests were provided between 01 May and 31 December – in other words, about half of the consultations resulted in a smear test.

Laboratory turnaround times have increased since that time, as a consequence both of the out of cycle smears and the increased uptake generally. While a backlog of around 80,000 smears had built up, this has now begun to fall, and is reported by the HSE to be down to around 54,474 as of 9 June. The programme should typically have approximately 23,000 samples in process at any one time. The HSE reports that more than half of tests are being returned within 8 weeks. However, they can take as long as 30 weeks, and this remains a significant challenge.

Since 1 May, Medlab Pathologies Ltd, which has the largest backlog, has ceased accepting new slides and is focused on clearing its backlog. Agreement has also been reached with Medlab to process tests based on a HPV initial testing model; i.e. HPV testing will be carried out on samples prior to cytology. The HSE advises that this approach was chosen as the most effective way to process all outstanding tests based on prioritising women most at risk. Additionally, CervicalCheck has agreed with laboratories to prioritise those slides which originate from women who attended colposcopy, as this cohort of women are considered to have the most serious need.

However, the HSE has advised that the natural history of cervical cancer would indicate that the disease would normally develop over a period of 10 to 15 years. It has said that in this context, a delay in the return of cervical screening results, whilst undesirable, poses a very low risk to women.

Following a global search for capacity, Quest Diagnostics was identified by the HSE as offering the necessary additional capacity to replace that previously provided by Medlab, given it has ceased to accept new slides. Agreement has now been reached and a contract has been signed for this additional capacity. This agreement comes after an extensive quality assurance review of existing and new capacity to ensure that it meets the requisite standards. The HSE advises that Quest, working alongside the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital (CWIUH) provides the necessary capacity to allow the CervicalCheck programme continue until the introduction of HPV primary screening.

In relation to the specific data requested on waiting times and number of smear tests by laboratory, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Care of the Elderly

Questions (178, 184, 186)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

178. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the status of Belmullet District Hospital; the number of beds due to be closed; the reason for same; his plans for the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24428/19]

View answer

Lisa Chambers

Question:

184. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the number of persons awaiting home help hours in County Mayo; the length of time they have been on the waiting list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24435/19]

View answer

Lisa Chambers

Question:

186. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the status of the home help scheme; if it is being closed to new entrants; if so, the reason therefor; the support that will be put in place for persons and families in need of home care supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24445/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 178, 184 and 186 together.

Homecare is an important support that enables older people to remain in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. It is also key for patient facilitating timely discharge from acute hospitals. 

In 2018, 17.5 million home support hours were provided, including hours provided as part of an Intensive Home Care Package.  This year, in accordance with its National Service Plan, the HSE intends to provide 17.9 million home support hours to 53,000 people and a further 360,000 hours through intensive home care packages to 235 people. This means that in 2019 approximately 800,000 more hours of support will be provided than was provided last year.

The allocation of funding for home supports across the system, though significant, is finite and services must be delivered within the funding available.  The HSE needs to ensure that the level of service provision is in line with their budget, delivery plan and the National Service Plan.

To achieve this the HSE must ensure that the total number of hours being provided does not exceed targeted level of 18.3 million hours. While this may impact on their ability to provide new or additional hours, it is in line with normal prudent management of the home support budget.  There has been no change in policy. 

It is not correct to say that no new clients will be allocated home help hours for the next five months.  The allocation of new hours will be based on client’s needs and the resources available.

I have asked the HSE to reply to the operational elements The Deputy's questions.

Hospitals Building Programme

Questions (179)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

179. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health when Mayo University Hospital will receive the promised extension to its emergency department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24429/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department is continuing to work with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Health Service Executive in a process to finalise as soon as possible a multi-annual Capital Plan for the HSE, which will include capital projects to be funded in 2019 and beyond, having regard to the available capital funding and the number of large national capital projects currently underway. The availability of funding determines the timeframe for the delivery of capital projects such as the proposed extension to Mayo University Hospital.

It is important to recognise that all capital development proposals, must progress through detailed appraisal, planning, design and tender stages before a firm timeline or funding requirement can be established.  

Emergency Departments Data

Questions (180)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

180. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who presented at the emergency department of Mayo University Hospital from 1 January 2019 to date compared to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24430/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I wish to acknowledge the distress overcrowded Emergency Departments cause to patients, their families, and frontline staff working in very challenging working conditions in hospitals throughout the country.

The hospital system is currently operating at close to full capacity. The number of patients attending Emergency Departments continues to increase year on year, with approximately 1.3 million attendances in 2018, up 3.5% on 2017. For the first four months of 2019, the number of patients attending hospital EDs increased by 6.5%, and the number of ED admissions increased by 4.4% compared to the same period last year. This reflects increasing demand for unscheduled care.

According to the latest validated figures available, 12,896 people attended the ED in Mayo University Hospital from January to April this year. This represents a 2% increase compared to the same period in 2018 when 12,640 people attended the ED in Mayo University Hospital. However, while there was a 3.7% increase in attendances nationally from the over 75 age group between January and April 2019, Mayo University Hospital saw a decrease of 7.3% in attendances for the this age group compared to the same period in 2018.

Occupational Therapy Waiting Lists

Questions (181)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

181. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on a waiting list for occupational therapy services in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24431/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. 

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Questions (182)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

182. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the number of children waiting for hospital appointments in CHO2 by county and wait time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24432/19]

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 table.

Saolta Childrens Outpatient by Hospital

0-3 Months

3-6 Months

6-9 Months

9-12 Months

12-15 Months

15-18 Months

18 Months +

Grand Total

Galway University Hospital

1658

845

578

391

299

267

551

4589

Letterkenny General Hospital

715

407

198

133

161

129

578

2321

Mayo General Hospital

551

163

136

96

130

77

387

1540

Portiuncula Hospital

314

215

100

68

19

6

46

768

Sligo Regional Hospital

670

414

310

149

144

103

176

1966

Grand Total

3908

2044

1322

837

753

582

1738

11184

Hospital Waiting Lists Data

Question No. 184 answered with Question No. 178.

Questions (183)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

183. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on a waiting list for surgical procedures in the CHO2 area in counties Mayo, Galway and Roscommon by length of time on the waiting list in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24433/19]

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.

The latest published National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures for the end of April show that the Saolta University Health Care Group IPDC waiting list has decreased by 17% (-3,271) when compared to the same period last year. 70% (11,464) of patients on the Saolta IPDC waiting list are waiting 9 months or less and 80% (13,049) are waiting 12 months or less.  In terms of long waiters, the number of patients waiting over 12 months has decreased by 17% (-652) when compared to the same period last year.

The information requested by the deputy is outlined in the table.

Saolta Group IPDC Waiting Times

Letterkenny University Hospital

879

475

229

105

46

24

40

21

1

----

1820

Galway University Hospitals

2759

1770

1207

947

568

317

499

494

106

20

8687

Sligo University Hospital

1021

659

373

223

166

106

166

138

16

2868

Mayo University Hospital

648

447

322

253

188

120

94

10

4

2086

Portiuncula University Hospital

143

44

38

33

16

2

0

0

276

Roscommon University Hospital

198

163

89

24

14

18

25

19

550

Total

5648

3558

2258

1585

998

587

824

682

127

20

16287

Question No. 184 answered with Question No. 178.

Nursing Home Services

Question No. 186 answered with Question No. 178.

Questions (185)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

185. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the reason a nursing home in Kilcoole, County Wicklow, is still empty almost a year after completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24440/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Deputy appears to be referring to a private nursing home. The Minister has no role in relation to the opening of private nursing homes. 

Question No. 186 answered with Question No. 178.

HSE Staff Remuneration

Questions (187, 188)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

187. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Health the number of staff employed by the HSE who earn below the living wage which currently stands at €11.90 per hour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24455/19]

View answer

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

188. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Health if the HSE requires external contractors to pay workers at least the living wage which currently stands at €11.90; if not, his plans to introduce same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24456/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 187 and 188 together.

I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Hospital Consultant Recruitment

Questions (189)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

189. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the status of the appointment of a consultant dermatologist at Sligo University Hospital; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there over 800 persons on a waiting list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24467/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Consultant Recruitment

Questions (190)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

190. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the status of the appointment of a joint community and acute service geriatrician at Sligo University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24468/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Consultant Recruitment

Questions (191)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

191. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the status of the appointment of an endocrinologist at Sligo University Hospital; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is a waiting list backlog of over two years for this service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24469/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Hospital Consultant Recruitment

Questions (192)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

192. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the status of the appointment of a cardiologist and cardiac specialist in Sligo University Hospital; if his attention has been drawn to the concern locally over the ability to maintain the cardiac unit owing to cuts in the hospital; his plans to ensure the cardiac unit is not lost in the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24484/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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