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Health | Hospital wait list reduction plans

To ask the Minister for Health the degree by which it is intended to reduce the numbers on hospital waiting lists by whatever means over the next twelve months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The 2022 Waiting List Action Plan was launched on 25 February this year following extensive engagement between my Department, the HSE and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).

The Action Plan allocated €350m of funding for 45 actions to reduce and reform waiting lists across four main areas of work: delivering capacity, reforming scheduled care, enabling scheduled care reform, and addressing community care access and waiting lists.

The Waiting List Task Force, co-chaired by the Secretary General of my Department and the CEO of the HSE, is currently focused on overseeing and driving delivery of this Action Plan. Despite the challenges of COVID-19 and ED pressures, which have negatively impacted scheduled care activity in our hospitals this year, the priority for the HSE and NTPF is to deliver as much activity as possible to reduce waiting times and the number of people waiting for acute scheduled care by year-end.

New capacity to further reduce waiting lists in 2023, along with associated estimates on the number of additional appointments and procedures expected to be delivered next year, will be developed as part of agreeing the 2023 Waiting List Action Plan with the HSE and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).

The most critical health priority for 2023 is to ensure the full delivery of this new Waiting List Action Plan which will include: short-term measures to address acute scheduled care waiting list backlogs; priority actions in relation to Obesity/Bariatrics, Spina Bifida/Scoliosis and Gynaecology; as well longer-term reforms to enhance capacity and streamline and reconfigure acute scheduled care pathways.

For 2023, funding of €443 million has been allocated to tackle Waiting Lists. This includes:

  • €123 million in funding for delivery of the Waiting List Action Plan, including priority areas such as Obesity/Bariatrics, Spina Bifida/Scoliosis and Gynaecology, as well as progressing longer-term reforms to sustainably enhance capacity. Other actions in the Action Plan will streamline and reconfigure care pathways.
  • €150 million for the NTPF to procure additional capacity to reduce waiting lists.
  • €90m for additional short-term measures to address acute scheduled care waiting list backlogs.

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