I propose to take Questions Nos. 287 and 288 together.
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 atypical 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.
The data requested by the Deputy concerning orthopaedic outpatient waiting times by hospital group and waiting times for hip/knee replacement surgery by hospital, is outlined in the attached documents contained in the following links.
Hip and Knee Replacement