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, and NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 was published on 11th March.
Under the Plan the HSE, in line with the National Service Plan, will deliver 1.155 million elective inpatient and day case discharges at a value of €1.4 billion in 2019. The Scheduled Care Access Plan includes:
- detailed plans from the NTPF to fund 25,000 IPDC treatments, 5,000 Gastro Intestinal Scopes and 40,000 outpatient first appointments.
- It is also projected that for ten identified high volume procedures, including cataracts, all clinically suitable patients waiting more than 6 months will be offered treatment in 2019.
These 10 procedures account for over a third of the active inpatient day case waiting list and represent 60% of NTPF planned activity in 2019.
At the end of July 2017, the number of people waiting for a cataract procedure was 10,024. Under the Inpatient Day Case Access Plan 2018, Cataracts were one of the specialties targeted by the NTPF and by end December 2018, the number of patients waiting had fallen to 6,440, a reduction of 36%. The number of patients waiting for a Cataract procedure at the end of May 2019 had further reduced to 5,655 with 481 patients waiting over 9 months. This represents a reduction of 3,890 or 89% when compared to July 2017, when there were 4,371 patients waiting over 9 months for a cataract operation.
Under the 2019 Scheduled Care Access Plan, all clinically suitable patients waiting longer than 6 months for a cataract procedure will be offered treatment funded by the NTPF.
In relation to the number of cataract procedures carried out at the Nenagh Cataract Centre since November 2018, I have asked the HSE to investigate the issue and respond to you directly.