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 11 March.
Under the Plan the HSE, in line with the National Service Plan, will aim to 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 at a total cost of €58 million; 5,000 Gastro Intestinal Scopes at a cost of €5 million; and 40,000 outpatient first appointments at a cost of €6 million.
- 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.
In relation to the specific matter raised by the Deputy, the NTPF has advised that for the period January to May 2019 the NTPF has arranged treatment for 636 patients awaiting a cataract procedure on the Saolta Hospital Group Inpatient/Day Case Waiting List. Under the 2019 Scheduled Care Access Plan, it is projected that all clinically suitable patients waiting over 6 months for cataract surgery will receive an offer of treatment by year end.