I am conscious that waiting times are often unacceptably long and of the burden that this places on patients and their families. In this regard, I committed to improving waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures.
Budget 2019 announced that the Government had further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €55 million in 2018 to €75 million in 2019.
The joint Department of Health/HSE/NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 was published on Monday. The plan sets out measures to improve care for patients waiting for scheduled care in 2019 by reducing wait times for inpatient/day case treatment and outpatient appointments and will place a strong focus on Orthopaedics.
A key element of this Plan is the stabilisation of the Outpatient Waiting List which remains a significant challenge. The HSE, in line with the National Service Plan 2019 will provide 3.3 million outpatient appointments, more than 1 million of which will be first outpatient appointments.
In addition, the NTPF will fund an additional 40,000 first outpatient appointments through weekend and out of hours clinics and ‘see and treat’ clinics.
The NTPF will deliver additional activity in the health service by working with hospital groups and individual hospitals as well as private health providers to maximise the number of patients treated in both a public and private capacity. I would strongly encourage all hospitals, including University Hospital Waterford, to collaborate with the NTPF to identify waiting list initiatives.
The data requested by the Deputy is contained in the following table.
Orthopaedic Outpatient waiting list in UHW – 2017 & 2018