Press Release

2015 Initiatives to target Waiting Lists

Total Patients Over 15 months Over 18 months
Category End Dec 2015 End Nov 2015 Change End Dec 2015 End Nov 2015 Change End Dec 2015 End Nov 2015 Change
IPDC 68086 68824 -738 746 3293 -2547 459 1533 -1074
OPD 375440 385507 -10067 9887 21282 -11395 5262 9618 -4356
GI Endoscopy 15961 16038 -77 147 240 -93 61 108 -47

2015 Initiatives to target Waiting Lists    
The latest NTPF Waiting List data, which will be published later today, shows that clear progress has been made to reduce the numbers of patients on waiting lists by end December 2015.  These figures continue to show the positive trend which was seen in November 2015, with improvements across all waiting list categories.

This has been facilitated by the establishment in January 2015 of maximum permissible waiting times for inpatient / day case treatment and outpatient appointments of 18 months by 30 June and 15 months by year end.  Also in 2015, the HSE was provided with additional funding to maximise capacity across the public and voluntary hospitals or to fund outsourcing activity, so that patients’ needs could be met within the maximum allowable waiting times.

HSE figures for the end of December 2015 show progress against the 15 months maximum wait as follows:

  • For In-patient and Day Case waiting lists, overall performance equates to 95% achievement of the 15 month maximum permissible wait time;
  • For outpatient waiting lists, overall performance equates to 93% achievement of the 15 month maximum permissible wait time.

It should also be noted that a number of patients who have not yet had appointments have been scheduled for treatments or appointments in the coming weeks.

The Department and the HSE recognise that there are personnel and structural challenges which impact on individual specialties and hospital sites.  Therefore, it is vital to effectively manage waiting lists so that those patients waiting longest are scheduled within the available capacity, once emergency and urgent cases have been dealt with.  The HSE has been addressing the maximum waiting times with Hospital Groups as part of the regular performance and accountability process.

NTPF Waiting List Data (December 2015)
Inpatient / Day Case (IPDC) Waiting List
There are reductions in the total Inpatient / Day Case (IPDC) waiting list, and in the numbers of patients waiting over 15 months and waiting over 18 months.  The data clearly show that substantial progress has been made in addressing those patients waiting longest.  The number of patients waiting over 15 months (includes over 18 months) reduced by 77% (-2,547) during December and the number of patients waiting over 18 months reduced by 70% (-1,074).

Outpatients Waiting List
Similarly, there are reductions in the total number of people waiting for outpatient appointments which has now fallen to around 375,000, the lowest number in 2015, a reduction of over 10,000 in the overall Outpatient waiting lists.

Patients waiting over 18 months and over 15 months for appointments are of highest chronological priority and the data show that there has been considerable progress in prioritising appointments for these patients. The number of people waiting over 15 months for appointments has fallen by 54% (representing over 11,000 patients), over 4,000 of whom had waited over 18 months for an appointment.

GI Endoscopy Waiting List
It is also very welcome to see substantial reductions in numbers of patients awaiting routine GI endoscopy in all 3 categories. These reductions have been facilitated by a dedicated GI Endoscopy Initiative commenced by the NTPF at the end of September 2015, which has now successfully concluded. The initiative targeted patients waiting over 12 months before the end of December 2015 for a routine endoscope and has offered those patients an external appointment.

Of the target cohort of 2,652 GI scope patients potentially waiting over 12 months at the end of December 2015, a total of 2,438 have been treated. This represents an achievement of 92% of the target.

The HSE has in place a weekly monitoring system to ensure that all patients referred for an urgent colonoscopy are seen within a 28 day target time. A policy of zero tolerance applies to any breaches.

Scoliosis Waiting List
At the end of December 2015, there were no active patients waiting 15 months or more for spinal surgery at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.

Last year, 100 scoliosis surgeries were carried out (67 full spinal surgeries carried out in Crumlin and a further 33 patients on the Crumlin waiting list were treated at other hospitals).  This is a 51% increase on the number of such surgeries carried out in 2014 (66).  In addition, 39 more patients from the Crumlin waiting list have now been transferred to either the Blackrock Clinic or to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore for treatment over the next few weeks. Concerted efforts will continue to be made to make further inroads into the scoliosis waiting list.