Press Release

Cowen gives £3 million for Waiting Lists to Best-Performing Hospitals

Brian Cowen TD, Minister for Health and Children announced today that he was allocating £3 million to hospitals which have achieved the greatest improvements in their waiting lists and waiting times so far this year.

The Minister said that, in line with the recommendations of the Review Group on the Waiting List Initiative, he had promised to reward the best performers by allocating them further funding under the Waiting List Initiative.

“I am now delivering on this commitment. The extra £3 million will mean that a further 2,800 patients on public waiting lists will be treated under the Waiting List Initiative this year. At the beginning of this year I provided funding for some 20,000 procedures; the £3 million that I am now allocating will add significantly to this total. I am confident that this money will help to continue the momentum that we have now established in tackling both waiting lists and waiting times”, said the Minister.

This brings the total allocation in 1999 to £20 million, as against £12 million in 1998 and £8 million under the previous administration in 1997.

The Minister said that the £3 million would be allocated primarily to the specialties of ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) Orthopaedics, Cardiology, Ophthalmology (including cataracts) Vascular Surgery and Plastic Surgery. In order to maximise the number of patients that could be treated throughout the system, some hospitals were arranging to contract out part of the workload to other hospitals which had spare capacity. The Minister welcomed this development, noting that it would ensure the maximum benefit from the £3 million funding.

The Minister said that the allocation of £3 million was an important part of the Government’s strategy in relation to waiting lists. The Government had adopted an integrated approach to addressing waiting lists and waiting times, involving improved bed management procedures in hospitals, additional support for accident and emergency services and services for older people so that beds could be freed up for waiting list work, and a range of related measures. In addition, the Minister had told hospitals that he would reward hospitals who achieved the best performance in waiting lists/waiting times.

“I am now allocating £3 million, as promised, to the hospitals which achieved the best results so far this year. I have taken into account their capacity to carry out extra work so that the maximum possible number of patients on public waiting lists can be treated”, said the Minister.

The Minister noted that waiting lists had fallen in the first quarter of the year by 1,887. He said that the particularly good progress had been made this year in reducing waiting lists in orthopaedics (down 958), gynaecology (down 479) ENT (down 459) and general surgery (down 409). The additional funding that he was now allocating would help to continue this momentum.

Extra Waiting List Money for Best Performers

Hospital Allocation (£)
Waterford Regional 300000
Tullamore General 300000
Sligo General 200000
UCHG 300000
St. Luke’s Kilkenny 100000
Mater 200000
St. James’s 330000
Merlin Park 100000
Tallaght 300000
Letterkenny General 300000
Beaumont 300000
South Infirmary 150000
Limerick Regional/Croom Orthopaedic 100000
Mercy Hospital 20000
Total 3000000