Written answers

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Photo of Ruairi Ó MurchúRuairi Ó Murchú (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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211. To ask the Minister for Health the number of patients per CHO on neurology waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12010/22]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. While significant work continues to positively impact on waiting times and improve pathways to elective care, acute hospitals have been impacted by operational challenges arising from surges in cases related to the Delta and Omicron variants.

The HSE has confirmed to the Department that patient safety remains at the centre of all hospital activity and elective care scheduling. To ensure services are provided in a safe, clinically-aligned and prioritised way, hospitals are following HSE clinical guidelines and protocols.

The Department of Health continues to work with the HSE and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) to identify ways to improve access to care, including through increased use of private hospitals, funding weekend and evening work in public hospitals, funding “see and treat” services, providing virtual clinics, and increasing capacity in the public hospital system.

The 2022 waiting list action plan, which was launched on the 26thof February, allocates €350 million to the HSE and NTPF to reduce waiting lists by 18% this year which will bring the number of people waiting to their lowest point in five years

Projections for 2022 show that over 1.5 million patients will be added to active waiting lists this year. Many people stayed away from the health service during the pandemic and, as these people come forward for treatment it will place huge additional demand on health services.

Under this plan the Department HSE and NTPF will deliver urgent additional capacity to treat 1.7 million people as well as investing in longer term reforms to bring sustained reductions in waiting lists.

The plan focuses on 15 high volume inpatient day case procedures, including cataracts and hip and knee replacements, so that every person waiting over 6 months for one of these procedures, and who is clinically ready will receive an offer of treatment.  

The plan builds on the successes of the short-term 2021 plan that ran from September to December last year. The 2021 plan was developed by the Department of Health, the HSE and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) and was driven and overseen by a senior governance group co-chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of Health and the CEO of the HSE and met fortnightly.

This rigorous level of governance and scrutiny of waiting lists has continued into this year with the oversight group evolving into the Waiting List Task Force. The Task Force will meet regularly to drive progress of the 2022 plan.

This is the first stage of an ambitious multi-annual waiting list plan, which is currently under development in the Department of Health. Between them, these plans will work to support short, medium, and long term initiatives to reduce waiting times and provide the activity needed in years to come.

I understand that the Deputy has indicated he is satisfied to receive the information requested by Hospital Group rather than CHO. The attached document outlines the IPDC and Outpatient Neurology Waiting List by Hospital Group.


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