Thursday, 28 September 2017
Department of Health
Oireachtas Joint Committee Reports
194. To ask the Minister for Health the extent to which his Department has examined the Sláintecare report with a view to identification of apparent weaknesses in the delivery of various health services resulting in waiting lists, overcrowding at accident and emergency and patient anxiety and safety with particular reference to the need to target the areas in question which have been the subject matter of much debate over the past number of years; if he will put in place measures to address these issues in the short to medium term and thereafter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41167/17]
200. To ask the Minister for Health the extent to which he expects the public hospital sector to respond to the challenges set out in the Sláintecare report; if he expects the necessary funding to become available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41173/17]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 194 and 200 together.
The Government is committed to making tangible and sustainable improvements in our health services and the Sláintecare report now provides a framework and a direction of travel to do this. We have a level of consensus and support for the vision and strategic direction outlined in the report that is unprecedented. I am determined to harness this and to work with colleagues across the political spectrum and with all stakeholders to move forward now on this very important agenda. This is one of the key priorities for the Government, and the focus now must be on ensuring that the implementation phase is properly designed and that a clear implementation plan is developed as quickly as possible.
Reducing waiting times for the longest waiting patients is one of this Government's key priorities. Consequently, Budget 2017 allocated €20 million to the NTPF, rising to €55 million in 2018.
In order to reduce the numbers of long-waiting patients, I asked the HSE to develop Waiting List Action Plans for 2017 in the areas of Inpatient/Daycase, Scoliosis and Outpatient Services. These Plans have commenced and their implementation is ongoing. These Plans are utilising both the capacity within the private hospital system through outsourcing, whilst maximising existing capacity in our public hospital system through insourcing within hospital groups.
In relation to unscheduled care, Hospital Groups, Community Health Organisations and hospitals are all currently in the process of planning for winter Emergency Department demand through developing integrated winter plans to cover the period October 2017 to March 2018. These plans will be submitted to the HSE for approval in the coming weeks.