Thursday, 19 May 2022
Department of Health
Hospital Waiting Lists
365. To ask the Minister for Health the status of diagnostic waiting lists by hospital for the latest available date, in tabular form; the comparison with figures at the end of 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25520/22]
The documents attached, set out diagnostic waiting list data for Quarter 4 2021 and the latest available diagnostic waiting list data (Quarter 1 2022) for CT, MRI and Ultrasound. The HSE advises that, at present, further diagnostic scans (including cholangiopancreatography, electroencephalogram, angiogram, and bone scan), are not yet captured as part of this project.
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 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, MRI 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 2021, there were a total of 226,966 patients reported on the waiting list from all sites and in In Q1 2022, there were a total of 236,380 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).
366. To ask the Minister for Health the mean, median, and maximum waiting time across National Treatment Purchase Fund-reported waiting lists for April 2022 that were published on 13 May 2022, by speciality and hospital in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25521/22]
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 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 25th of February, allocates €350 million to the HSE and NTPF to reduce waiting lists. Under this plan the Department, HSE, and NTPF will deliver urgent additional capacity for the treatment of patients, as well as investing in longer term reforms to bring sustained reductions in waiting lists.
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 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 programme, 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.
The NTPF has advised that the health system does not collect the data necessary to calculate average wait times. In particular, the time to treatment of patients who have already received their care is not collected. The NTPF collects data on patients currently on the waiting list and the mean, median and maximum time that these patients have been waiting is provided here.