Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Health

Hospital Waiting Lists

Photo of Denis NaughtenDenis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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98. To ask the Minister for Health the steps he is taking to address delays in elective procedures in hospitals nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11379/22]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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I acknowledge that the waiting times for elective procedures nationwide are too long, and that this has been a problem for some time.

On 25 February this year I launched the 2022 Waiting List Action Plan that allocates €350 million to the NTPF and HSE to address waiting lists and waiting times for elective care. The Plan will reduce active waiting lists for elective care by more than 132,000 (18 percent) this year, which will bring the number of people waiting to their lowest point in five years. The Plan also details a number of actions to reform waiting lists, such as revising and modernising care pathways and greatly enhancing data and information, with the aim of bringing real and meaningful changes to our waiting lists and waiting times for elective care in the years to come.

The 2022 Waiting List Action Plan will also progress intermediate waiting time targets this year, as set out in the National Service Plan (of 18 months for OPD; 12 months for IPDC; and 12 months for GI scopes).

The 2022 Plan also 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.

While the Plan is largely on track, with fewer than expected additions to the waiting lists so far this year, the recent surge in both ED attendance and COVID cases (and associated staff shortages) in hospitals in March is resulting in the curtailment of elective activity. The current situation in hospital Emergency Departments and the effect on elective care is under constant review by my Department through ongoing engagement with the HSE and the National Treatment Purchase Fund.


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