Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (120)

Catherine Connolly


120. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health the alternative arrangements in place to treat patients of Merlin Park Hospital for orthopaedic procedures, including University Hospital Galway and other hospitals; the number of persons on the waiting list for orthopaedic surgeries by length of time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27935/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. Last year saw considerable improvement in the number of patients waiting for procedures. As a result of increased activity and the ongoing collaboration between the HSE and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), the number of patients waiting for an Inpatient or Day case procedure fell to 70,204 in December 2018, 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. The number of patients waiting more than 3 months fell by more than 17,700, or 31% in the same period from July 2017 to the end of December 2018.

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 in 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.

- Projections by year end to reduce the overall number of patients on the waiting list (excluding GI scopes) from just over 70,200 in Dec 2018 to under 60,000;

- Within this overall reduction the number of patients waiting longer than 3 months will reduce from 40,200 at the end of 2018 to 31,000;

- It is also projected that for ten identified high volume procedures, including hip and knee replacements, 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.

The latest NTPF figures show that there 1,301 patients on the Galway University Hospital (GUH) IPDC Orthopaedics waiting list. Of these, 81% (1,053) are waiting 12 months or less.

The GUH Orthopaedics IPDC Waiting List is contained in the following table.

*Please note that patients listed for surgery at Merlin Park Hospital are captured under the GUH waiting list.

In relation to the alternative arrangements in place to treat patients of Merlin Park Hospital for orthopaedic procedures, including Galway University Hospital and other hospitals, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

 Galway University Hospitals IPDC Orthopaedics waiting list

0-3 mths

3-6 mths

6-9 mths

9-12 mths

12-15 mths

15-18 mths

18-24 mths

24-36 mths

36-48 mths

48+ mths