It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted in the last year as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The HSE is currently recommending that only critical time dependent elective procedures are undertaken at this time due to the on-going and significant increased demand for bed capacity related to Covid-19.
This decision was made arising from the rapid increase in Covid-19 admissions and to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for Covid-19 related activity and time-critical essential work.
Patient safety remains at the centre of all hospital activity and elective care scheduling. To ensure services are provided in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way, hospitals are following HSE clinical guidelines and protocols.
The National Waiting List Management Policy is a standardised approach used by the HSE to manage scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures. It sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists and was developed in 2014 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.
An additional €240 million has been provided in Budget 2021 for an Access to Care Fund, €210m of which has been allocated to the HSE and €30m to the NTPF for the provision of treatment as required in both private and public hospitals in order to address capacity issues in acute hospitals and waiting lists.
The information requested by the deputy is outlined in the attached document. The latest published National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures (Dec 2020) show that the vascular surgery outpatient waiting list has increased by 63% over the last 4 years (December 2017 – December 2020). The inpatient & daycase (IPDC) waiting list has shown a 59% decrease when a comparison is made with the same period (December 2017 – December 2020).