Health | To ask the Minister for Health the extent to which every effort is being made, similar to the coordinated efforts displayed in the fight against Covid-19, to ensure the recovery of the health services and the overhaul of long waiting lists
To ask the Minister for Health the extent to which every effort is being made, similar to the coordinated efforts displayed in the fight against Covid-19, to ensure the recovery of the health services and the overhaul of long waiting lists; if the delivery plan will be coordinated in such a way as to achieve major objectives in the short-term; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Recognising that waiting lists and waiting times for scheduled care in Ireland are unacceptably long, in February of this year I launched the 2022 Waiting List Action Plan.
The Plan, through which €350 million has been allocated to the HSE and NTPF, has a dual focus – the immediate reduction of waiting list numbers and waiting times through the delivery of additional activity; and the implementation of longer-term reforms that aim to make sustained changes to waiting lists and waiting times in the years to come.
In the short-term, the Plan aims to achieve a number of significant objectives.
It is projected that 1.5 million people will be added to waiting lists this year. The Plan details how we intend to ensure that an even higher number, 1.7 million, are treated and removed from waiting lists. Therefore, if this Plan is fully delivered, it will reduce waiting lists by 18 percent this year which will bring the number of people waiting to 588,000, the lowest number in five years.
The Plan also dedicates €15 million to three priority areas of paediatric orthopaedics, gynaecology and bariatrics / obesity, and aims to make significant changes to waiting lists in these areas.
There is also particular focus on 15 high-volume inpatient day case procedures, so that every person waiting for over 6 months who is clinically ready will receive an offer of treatment. These procedures include cataracts, hip and knee replacements, and angiograms.
At the same time, reforming and investing in our public health service will eradicate the gap between demand and capacity by addressing long-term reforms like improving patient pathways of care, enhancing data collection and information sharing, and revising waiting-list management protocols.
A Waiting List Task Force has been established and is meeting fortnightly to track Plan progress and identify solutions to any blockages. The Task Force is co-chaired by the Secretary General of my Department and the CEO of the HSE and comprises senior representatives from the Department, the HSE and the NTPF.
Leave a Reply