I propose to take Questions Nos. 1316, 1317, 1323, 1333, 1336 and 1337 together.
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/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 NTPF advise that over recent months they have placed a particular focus on engaging with hospital groups and individual hospitals to identify waiting list proposals. The NTPF welcomes proposals from all acute hospitals for initiatives to improve access for patients on waiting lists.
In relation to the particular queries raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.