I propose to take Questions Nos. 264, 265 and 268 together.
The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) has a statutory role to collect, collate and validate information in relation to persons waiting for hospital treatment and to put in place information systems and procedures for that purpose.
The NTPF is under the governance (aegis) of the Department of Health and my Department has a governance structure in place which involves regular governance and monitoring meetings with both the NTPF and HSE, including at Ministerial level.
The Inpatient/Day Case Action Plan, published on 12 April, is a joint initiative between the HSE, the NTPF and my Department and sets the projected activity and impact that will be delivered in 2018 from within the allocated funding. As outlined in the Action Plan, a projected 1.16 million inpatient and day case procedures will take place in 2018, with NTPF activity accounting for 20,000 procedures and HSE activity 1.14 million procedures.
The NTPF procures capacity for each of the procedures identified in the Action Plan in both private hospitals or public hospitals. The NTPF will target seven procedures which account for 40% of people on the Active Inpatient Day Case waiting list:
Cataracts, Hip/Knee replacements, Varicose Veins, Tonsillectomies, Cystoscopies, Coronary Angiograms, and Excision of Lesions, amounting to 13,800 procedures, as well as 5,000 procedures across an expanded range of over 40 other procedures, and 4,000 GI Scopes.
The Action Plan strikes the appropriate balance between maximising the number of patients treated in both public and private capacity, as appropriate, and ensuring the best return for the taxpayer.
The overall number of patients waiting for an inpatient or day case procedure is projected to fall to below 70,000 by year end, from a peak of 86,100 in July 2017. My ambition is to build upon this progress in 2019 and to further reduce waiting times for Irish patients.