Press Release

Minister for Health and Children Micheál Martin TD announces additional funding of €12 million for the National Treatment Purchase Fund

Micheál Martin, T.D., Minister for Health and Children, today (Tuesday February 10th) attended a function to mark the treatment of the 10,000th person to be treated by the National Treatment Purchase Fund. Speaking at the launch, Minister Martin said “Building on the success of the National Treatment Purchase Fund I announced recently that it would have a significant lead role in targeting waiting times for public patients. I am pleased to say that I am providing additional funding of €12 million to the NTPF this year. This will bring the total allocation for the NTPF in 2004 to €44 million”.

Commenting further, Minister Martin said “The number of patients treated by the NTPF continues to grow. In the short time since it commenced operations, the NTPF has now arranged treatments for over 11,000 patients. The guiding principle of the NTPF is to reduce waiting times for patients on public hospital waiting lists as quickly as possible. The NTPF operates on a patient specific basis, arranges treatment in a confidential manner and is committed to assuring and monitoring quality standards in relation to clinical treatment and patient care”.

“Initially the Fund concentrated on adults who were on a public hospital waiting list for more than twelve months, and in the case of children, more than six months. I am delighted to say that due to the progress achieved by the NTPF the qualifying time barrier has been halved. This means that, in most instances, adults waiting for an operation for 6 months, or 3 months for children will now be facilitated by the Fund,” Minister Martin said.

“The NTPF can refer patients to private or public hospitals throughout Ireland, Northern Ireland and England. If patients are prepared to exercise choice by travelling to where there is capacity, they can be treated a lot quicker in many instances. I would urge patients and their GPs to avail of the Fund in order to use capacity to its fullest. People can access the NTPF on their own behalf or on behalf of a relative or friend by contacting the Fund on its lo-call telephone number or by contacting their GP, hospital consultant or hospital liaison officer” added Minister Martin.

“The feedback received from patients indicates that they are extremely satisfied with the quality of care they receive. In a survey carried out last year 96% of respondents rated their experience of treatment as good, very good or excellent. The benefit of having a dedicated multi-disciplinary team working together under the NTPF has proved very effective in the validation of hospital waiting lists. The NTPF, in association with the acute public hospitals, identifies the individual patients who are on waiting lists and the specific procedure required”, concluded Minister Martin.