Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Health
571. To ask the Minister for Health if consideration will be given to expanding access to diagnostic, radiology and laboratory services to allow timely access to investigations and results of same to general practitioners, which will support them in appropriately managing patients in the community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44315/20]
Budget 2021 provided for the expansion of community diagnostics to improve access for general practice and community specialist teams including access to plain film x-rays, ultrasound, MRI, CT, ECHO, and spirometry. Of the €175m in new development money allocated to primary care for 2021, some €25m has been specifically identified to support structured GP access to diagnostics, which will enable the delivery of approximately 136,000 additional diagnostic tests over the course of the year. This will enable a greater level of care to be delivered in the community and reduces the need to refer patients to the emergency and outpatient departments.
In addition, a Community Diagnostics Implementation Group has been established. This group will ensure co-ordinated planning between a broad spectrum of stakeholders in respect of the medium to long-term approach to community diagnostics.
However, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the deputy in order to provide further information.
572. To ask the Minister for Health if consideration will be given to the further resourcing of diagnostic, radiology and laboratory departments in hospitals to allow timely access to investigations and results of same for hospital doctors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44316/20]
The Health Service Executive is currently in the process of finalising its National Service Plan for 2021, in consultation with officials from the Department of Health.
Following completion of this process, detailed Operational Plans for the coming year for each of the Executive's service areas will be developed. Appropriate resourcing to ensure the delivery of the Key Performance Indicators for 2021 as set out in the National Service Plan will be given detailed consideration by each hospital group including each hospital’s requirements in relation to diagnostics, radiology and laboratory services.