Written Answers. - Operation Waiting Lists.

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

166 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Health the average duration of the waiting period in respect of cataract removal operations.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

178 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Health (1) the current average waiting period for patients seeking treatment for cataracts and (2) the number now on the waiting list; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Waiting times for cataract surgery vary according to the patient's condition and from hospital to hospital. It is not, therefore, possible to give a national average waiting time for this surgery. I should explain, however, that the admission of a patient to hospital is a clinical decision for the consultant concerned. Priority is given to urgent cases and waiting lists are kept under review.

The latest information available to my Department indicates that there are 2,771 patients on the waiting list for cataracts. The numbers waiting for treatment should be viewed in the context of the number of such procedures carried out in 1990 which was 4,200.

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

167 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Health the number of people awaiting surgery in the Southern Health Board area; and the number of people expected to be treated in 1991.

The latest information available to my Department indicates that there are 640 patients on waiting lists for general surgery in the Southern Health Board area.

This should be viewed in the context of a total number of 15,959 admissions for this specialty in the Southern Health Board area in 1990. It is anticipated that this level of activity will be maintained in 1991.