Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government.
The latest published National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures show that there 532 patients in the Cork University Maternity Hospital IPDC waiting list. Of these, 28% (148) are waiting 3 months or less, 66% (351) are waiting 9 months or less and 79% (419) are waiting 12 months or less.
I am aware that Cork University Maternity Hospital have made considerable improvements to their Outpatients Waiting List over the past year. As a result of the hard work of their dedicated staff and their positive engagement with the NTPF, the Outpatient Waiting List at Cork University Maternity Hospital has decreased by 66% (-2,182) when compared to the same period last year.
The NTPF figures show that at the end of October there were 1,115 patients the outpatient waiting list. Of these, 70% (780) are waiting 3 months or less and 91% (1,012) are waiting 6 months or less.
The NTPF has advised my Department that they have approved a number of IPDC and Outpatient proposals for Cork University Maternity Hospital in 2019, providing up to 1,720 procedures and appointments for patients. These initiatives include providing additional capacity at Cork University Maternity Hospital to facilitate 2-day (weekday) theatre service for the rest of this year to assist with addressing the longest waiters.
More broadly, Budget 2020 announced that the Government has further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the NTPF increasing from €75 million in 2019 to €100 million in 2019. The year-on-year increases to the NTPF since Budget 2017 reflect this Government’s priority to improve waiting times for patients to access hospital treatment. The Department of Health is working with the HSE and NTPF to develop the Scheduled Care Access Plan 2020, which will include gynaecology services.
In this regard, I would encourage all hospital groups and individual hospitals to engage with the NTPF to identify waiting list proposals for the remainder of this year and for 2020.