Health | Plans for waiting Listing reductions
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 can 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.
The 2022 Waiting List Action Plan I launched in February is part of our multi-annual approach to reduce and reform waiting lists and times, which were exacerbated during the Pandemic.
It builds on the success of the 2021 Plan that delivered reductions in waiting lists of 5% in Q4 2021, as part of €340m funding allocated last year.
Through the 2022 Plan, €350 million was allocated to provide additional public and private activity to further stabilise and reduce waiting lists and times, in tandem with bringing forward longer-term reforms like care pathways and enhancing capacity in hospitals and specialties.
Despite continued COVID-19 challenges this year our hospitals delivered significant reductions in waiting lists, with long waiters falling across all targets YTD and compared to pandemic peaks. For example, patients waiting > 12 months for OPD has fallen 24% YTD and 39% since March 2021; and patients waiting > 6 months for procedures has decreased 35% since September 2020. Many individual hospitals have delivered impressive reductions in both their waiting lists and waiting times. The HSE is currently working to replicate this positive performance across the entire hospital system.
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 year’s Action Plan.
The most critical health priority for 2023 is to ensure the full delivery of a new Waiting List Action Plan which is currently being developed. It 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.
- €80m for other measures in community and primary care, including to ensure maintenance of full population access for 2023 to GP-Access-to-Diagnostics scheme – €47m for 2023, building on €50m this year and €25m in 2021.
The 2023 Plan will continue our focus on maintaining momentum in reducing waiting lists and waiting times through our multi-annual approach.
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