Press Release

Health Minister Dr James Reilly welcomes reduction in Waiting Lists

Hospitals across Ireland have achieved considerable success in reaching the so called ‘9 month PTL’ target (Primary Targeting List).  The target, set by Health Minister Dr James Reilly at the start of this year, required hospitals to ensure that no one is waiting more than nine months for inpatient and day case treatments. According to new statistics published today by the Special Delivery Unit 27 (70%) hospitals fully achieved the target and have no persons waiting for more than nine months for such treatment.

A total of 12 hospitals have made significant inroads but are left with some work to do. At the start of 2012, 53,513 patients were listed as being on the ‘9 month PTL’. In other words the non treatment of such patients by the end of September would fall short of the target. At the start of 2012, a total of 5,119 people were waiting over 9 months for inpatient or day case surgery. At the end of September a total of 415 persons were waiting over 9 months, a drop of 91.1%.

Health Minister Dr James Reilly welcomed the news, stressing its crucial importance to fairness in the health system. “Since assuming office I have made clear that priority must be given to taking care of those patients waiting the longest. Once the most urgent cases are treated, hospitals must devote their capacity to treating the longest waiters in a strict chronological order. These fresh statistics are clear evidence of the fact that hospitals can and are doing just that. The development is vital on two fronts. Firstly it is about basic fairness. Secondly it shows that even with reduced budgets and staffing levels, clear, well informed targets assist hospitals to be effective. I would like to thank all the staff involved and acknowledge their dedication and commitment.”

Meanwhile the Special Delivery Unit has made further progress in reducing the number of people waiting on trolleys. In the first nine months of this year, the number of people on trolleys was reduced by 23.6% or 16,659 persons over the same period last year. HSE Director General Designate, Tony O’Brien said that “While there are still too many people waiting on trolleys in emergency departments, the continued progress in achieving a reduction is of real importance. This continued downward trend has been achieved with some investment but mostly with hard work involving professionals on the front line.”

The Special Delivery Unit also gave further details of its work aimed at tackling the scale of the outpatients waiting list. At Minister Reilly’s direction the HSE and the SDU have taken a series of actions to prepare for a methodical reduction of the Outpatient waiting list.  In recent days for the first time the true number of persons on the list has been estimated at approximately 360,000 people.

The SDU today gave details of two separate pieces of work providing for a scientific measuring of the capacity in our hospitals ahead of a drive to reduce the numbers. Dr Reilly has set as a target that by the end of next year no outpatient will be waiting for treatment for more than 12 months.