Reducing waiting times for the longest waiting patients is one of the Government's key priorities. Last year, the NTPF rolled out the Endoscopy Waiting List Initiative to arrange for the provision of endoscopy procedures to patients waiting over 12 months. By the end of December, over 5,500 people had come of the Endoscopy waiting list and the NTPF had managed to clear over 99% of the long waiters on that list. Building on this successful initiative, €20 million was allocated to the NTPF in the Budget 2017, rising to €55 million in 2018.
In December 2016, I granted approval to the NTPF for the first tranche of funding in the region of €5m, for an initiative focusing on day case procedures. It is estimated that around 3,000 day cases will be managed through this process with the aim of ensuring that no patient will be waiting more than 18 months for treatment by 30 June 2017. Tender documentation was issued last week and it is expected that the outsourcing of treatment will commence shortly.
In addition, the HSE is currently developing a 2017 Waiting List Action Plan for inpatient/daycase procedures to ensure that no patient is waiting more than 15 months by the end of October. This Plan is being developed in conjunction with the NTPF's proposal for utilisation of its remaining €10m funding for patient treatment in 2017. A similar plan is being developed for outpatient appointments. I expect to make known the details of both plans in the coming weeks.
Under this initiative, public hospitals will identify patients waiting for 18 months or more for a day case procedure who are suitable to have their treatment outsourced. The NTPF will then contact these patients in relation to availing of services under the initiative.