Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Health
Hospital Waiting Lists Data
I am conscious that waiting times are often unacceptably long and of the burden that this places on patients and their families. In this regard, the Government is committed to improving waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures.
Budget 2020 announced further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) increasing from €75 million in 2019 to €100 million in 2020. 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 this year.
The latest published NTPF figures, which are also available at www.ntpf.ie/home/nwld.htm show that at the end of January 2020 there were:
- 67,303 patients on the IPDC waiting list. Of these, 58% (38,845) are waiting over 3 months and 22% (14,815) are waiting over 9 months.
- 22,231 patients on the GI Scopes waiting list. Of these, 50% (11,206) are waiting over 3 months and 14% (3,113) are waiting over 9 months.
- 556,770 on the outpatients waiting list. Of these, 72% (400,864) are waiting over 3 months and 31% (173,256) are waiting over 12 months.
As requested by the Deputy, the waiting list data broken down to acute hospital level is outlined in the attached documents.
In relation to the data requested concerning community waiting lists by LHO, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.
820. To ask the Minister for Health the overall national radiology waiting lists by hospital and scan type, that is, ultrasounds, CT scans and MRIs; and the breakdown to the level of waiting lists for brain scans, pelvic ultrasounds and so on by hospital. [3592/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 820 and 821 together.
The HSE advises that a pilot project commenced in 2016 by the HSE Acute Hospitals Division to progress the collection of national radiology waiting list data. The project has been supported by the Radiology Clinical Care Programme and has involved key stakeholders across the system including the National Integrated Medical Imaging System (NIMIS) Team, Hospital Groups, and the support of the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) for data collection and data management expertise.
The information requested by the Deputy is outlined in the documents attached, which set out waiting list data for Quarter 4 2019 for CT, MRI and Ultrasound. The HSE advises that, at present, the further breakdown to the level of brain scans, pelvic ultrasounds etc. requested by the Deputy is not yet captured as part of this project.
The information that is currently being collected is presently being tested and validated at hospital, hospital group and national level and as such should not be used/reported without the context of the caveats set out below:
- Data is subject to inclusions and exclusions which are documented in the Data Profile Document. This document is available from Acute Operations and has been circulated to all Hospital Groups.
- Data contains urgent, routine and surveillance/planned activity which is currently not broken down in detail, as such this includes surveillance/planned activity which may not be exceeding planned date.
- Data is still undergoing validation at Hospital and Hospital Group level.
- Data does not take into account local nuances at site level (Site profile developed to support understanding of same).
- The purpose of this aggregate data is to provide a National Level overview of the number of patients waiting for modalities of CT, MR and Ultrasound.
- This report is not intended to be used for the active management of hospital diagnostics waiting list, local reports and mechanisms should continue to be used for the management of diagnostics waiting lists at hospital level.
In Q4 there were a total of 184,293 patients reported on the waiting list from all sites, this represents all outpatients waiting, urgent, semi urgent, routine and planned/surveillance (where diagnostic access is planned at particular time intervals).
824. To ask the Minister for Health the waiting time key performance indicators for a person with suspected cancer to receive a scan; if they are classified as urgent, semi-urgent or non-urgent; and the number of persons with suspected cancer not receiving a scan within the timeframe target. [3596/20]
825. To ask the Minister for Health the waiting time key performance indicators for persons to receive a scan if they have been diagnosed with cancer; and the number of persons with diagnosed cancer not receiving a scan within the timeframe target. [3597/20]
827. To ask the Minister for Health the surgical waiting times for a person that chooses to undergo risk reduction surgery as a consequence of a positive test for a gene that is linked to cancer; and if the waiting times will be broken down by surgery type and hospital, for example, waiting times for bilateral mastectomy, single mastectomy, oophorectomy and so on. [3599/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 822 to 825, inclusive, and 827 together.
The HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) has advised that they do not currently collect data on risk reduction surgery nor do they capture the information requested on diagnostics on an all cancer basis.
A pilot project was commenced in 2016 by the HSE Acute Hospitals Division to progress the collection of national radiology waiting list data. The project has been supported by the Radiology Clinical Care Programme and has involved key stakeholders across the system including the National NIMIS Team, Hospital Groups, and the support of the National Treatment Purchase Fund for data collection and data management expertise.
In addition, the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) advise that they do not currently store patient demographic data (including names, addresses or dates of birth) for patients on the Diagnostics waiting list and hence do not have the data to provide an answer to these queries. The Diagnostics waiting list data is aggregated to provide a National Level overview of the number of patients waiting for modalities of CT, MRI and Ultrasound and, as such, the HSE can only provide figures and wait time for specific procedures and/or specialties and not for medical diagnosis such as cancer.
Between 2009-2011 Rapid Access Clinics (RACs) were established, offering direct and rapid access to assessment and diagnosis for patients with symptomatic breast disease, and lung and prostate cancer symptoms. The performance of these RACs is measured against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as defined in the HSE National Service Plan. These KPIs set target timeframes in which patients, in each of the RACs, should be seen. These KPIs, and the performance for 2019 (Jan-Sept) are as follows:
|Key Performance Indicator||%||Jan - Sept 2019||Number of patients referred||Number of patients seen within KPI|
|Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinics: % of attendances whose referrals were triaged as urgent by the cancer centre and adhered to the national standard of 2 weeks for urgent referrals.||95%||69.7%||15,753||10,985|
|Lung Rapid Access Clinics: % of patients attending lung rapid access clinics who attended or were offered an appointment within 10 working days of receipt of referral in designated cancer centres.||95%||86.4%||2,716||2,346|
|Prostate Rapid Access Clinics: % of patients attending prostate rapid clinics who attended or were offered an appointment within 20 working days of receipt of referral in the cancer centres||90%||68.1%||2,965||2,020|