Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (835)

Emer Higgins


835. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Health his plans to deal with the extended waiting list for patients awaiting appointments for ear, nose and throat procedures. [26597/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the HSE had to take measures to defer most scheduled care activity in March, April, and May of this year. This was to ensure patient safety and that all appropriate resources were made available for Covid-19 related activity and time-critical essential work. This decision was in line with the advice issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) in accordance with the advice of the World Health Organisation.

The resumption of services from June onwards has allowed for increased activity, with the HSE utilising innovative methods including telemedicine to facilitate patient appointments. Patient safety remains at the forefront of service resumption. To ensure services are re-introduced in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way, hospitals are following HSE clinical guidelines and protocols which has resulted in reduced capacity and activity

The HSE continues to optimise productivity through alternative work practices such the use of alternative settings including private hospitals, community facilities and alternative outpatient settings.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund has also recommenced arranging treatment in both private and public hospitals for clinically suitable patients who have been waiting for long periods on public hospital waiting lists.

In addition to core HSE activity, the NTPF have advised my department that they have also approved 54 ENT initiatives (35 IPDC initiatives and 19 OPD) for funding so far in 2020 which will facilitate treatment for over 21,000 patients.