Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (1957)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire


1957. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health the waiting list for cataracts surgery in County Cork by 3, 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months. [34402/19]

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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. In this regard, the Government is committed to improving waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures.

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 places a strong focus on ten high-volume Inpatient/Day Case procedures, including cataracts. 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.

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 June 2019 had further reduced to 5,739 with 454 patients waiting over 9 months. This represents a reduction of 3,917 or 90% when compared to July 2017, when there were 4,371 patients waiting over 9 months for a cataract operation. 

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.

The data requested by the deputy is contained in the following table. Please note that South Infirmary Hospital is the only Cork hospital with an Inpatient & Daycase cataracts waiting list.

IPDC Cataracts Waiting list for Cork Hospitals (South Infirmary Hospital Cork).

0-3 mths

3-6 mths

6-9 mths

9-12 mths

12 mths+