Wednesday, 1 February 2017
Department of Health
Hospital Appointments Delays
43. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to speed up the provision of outpatient appointments to the 2,610 persons waiting more than 18 months for a consultation in Beaumont Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4675/17]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 42 and 43 together.
Reducing waiting times for the longest waiting patients is one of this Government's key priorities.
We are seeing a considerable increase in demand for health services as our population grows and ages. For example, the HSE has advised that to the end of September, there was a sustained increase in referrals for outpatient appointments, each month in the order of 10%, in comparison with the same period in 2015.
In November, the HSE launched the Strategy for the design of Integrated Outpatient Services 2016-2020. It seeks to improve waiting times for outpatient services by enhancing patient referral pathways and utilising technology to enable better planning. In the context of rolling out this Strategy, the HSE is currently developing an Outpatient Waiting List Action Plan for 2017. The plan will focus on ensuring that no patient is waiting more than 15 months on this list by the end of October 2017.
In relation specifically to Beaumont Hospital which has a high number of patients waiting 18 months or more for an outpatient appointment, the RCSI Hospital Group is currently finalising its Operational Plan for 2017. This Plan will set out the specific actions to be implemented this year to address waiting lists, including outpatient waiting lists. These specific actions will form part of the HSE’s Outpatient Waiting List Action Plan.
I expect to make known the details of this plan in the coming weeks.