I can confirm that additional development funding will be provided to the HSE National Women & Infants Health Programme in 2020 to support the continued implementation of the National Maternity Strategy. The funding will enable us to build manpower capacity in maternity services, including the recruitment of additional consultant obstetricians/gynaecologists, in order to provide for the continued roll out of the new model of integrated care.
As announced in Budget 2020, the Government has further increased investment to tackle waiting lists, with funding to the National Treatment Purchase fund (NTPF) increasing from €75m in 2019 to €100m in 2020. The year-on-year increases to the NTPF, since Budget 2017, reflect this Government’s priority to improve waiting times for patients to access hospital treatment.
My Department is working with the HSE and the NTPF to develop the Scheduled Care Access Plan 2020. In this regard, I would encourage all hospital groups and individual hospitals to engage with the NTPF to identify waiting list proposals, including for gynaecology services, for the remainder of this year and for 2020.
The Access Plan 2020 will be developed in parallel to the HSE National Service Plan (NSP) 2020. The NSP will set out a planned activity level for the year ahead, while the NTPF will work with the hospital system to provide additionality to improve access to inpatient/day case treatment and procedures and with a particular focus on improving access to hospital outpatient services. In 2020, the NTPF will further expand its list of targeted in-patient and daycase procedures to support further significant reductions in wait times, as well as increasing funding towards supporting full packages of care for patients on the outpatient waiting lists, to include the surgery or treatment where required.