Budget 2018 allocated a total of €55 million for the national treatment purchase fund, NTPF, which more than doubles the 2017 allocation of €20 million.
This funding will enable the provision of treatment for patients on the inpatient/daycase waiting list across a range of specialties and procedures and will focus on long-waiting patients and overall waiting list numbers. The NTPF will work with both public and private hospitals in order to provide access for patients to treatment.
The HSE and NTPF are currently preparing a waiting list action plan for 2018, with a specific focus on reducing the number of patients waiting the longest for inpatient and daycase procedures. I expect to publish this plan at the end of February.
The HSE has advised me that work is currently on-going in the Ireland East Hospital Group to finalise the 2018 budget allocation for Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital. It is expected that Cappagh Hospital will be funded for a similar level of activity in 2018, as 2017.
The NTPF has advised me that at the end of last year they funded the treatment of 83 patients in Cappagh Hospital. In addition, to date in January this year a further 17 hip/knee replacements funded by the NTPF have been completed in Cappagh. The HSE advise that Cappagh Hospital will also be undertaking an additional 200 orthopaedic procedures (joint replacements) this year on behalf of the NTPF. These procedures will be targeted at those who are waiting over 15 months for surgery.
The NTPF are continuing to engage with Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital to identify potential further waiting list initiatives, which could be undertaken in the context of the additional funding allocated to the NTPF this year and the waiting list action plans for 2018.