Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government. In this regard, the Government is committed to improving waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures.
The latest published National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures for October show that there are 16,705 patients on the Sligo University Hospital Outpatient waiting list. Of these, 63% (10,555) are waiting 9 months or less and 72% (12,103) are waiting 12 months or less.
The NTPF has advised my Department that they have approved a number of Outpatient proposals for Sligo University Hospital in 2019, providing up to 100 additional clinics for 1,088 patient appointments.
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 2020.
My Department is working with the HSE and National Treatment Purchase Fund to develop the Scheduled Care Access Plan 2020. The National Service Plan 2020 will set out HSE planned activity level for the year ahead, while the NTPF will work with the hospital system to provide additionality to improve access to inpatient/daycase treatment and with a particular focus on hospital outpatient 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.