Press Release

Minister Harris welcomes progress on patients waiting longest

948 fewer patients waiting +18 months
364 fewer patients waiting 15-18 months

Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has today welcomed confirmation that the number of patients waiting the longest for procedures on Inpatient/Daycase Waiting Lists has begun to reduce, after the NTPF published the latest data for November 2016.

“It is really encouraging to see reductions in the numbers of patients waiting the longest for procedures in our health service. I have been determined since I became Minister to make whatever impact I can for these patients and it is very welcome that we are beginning to see results.

“The figures published today show the number of patients waiting between 15 and 18 months for inpatient or daycase procedures has reduced by 364. This is the second consecutive month showing a reduction in these numbers since the HSE Action Plan on Waiting Lists commenced in August. For the first time, the number of patients waiting over 18 months has reduced too, by 948.

“I am pleased to also see that the NTPF Endoscopy Initiative is continuing to make an impact with the total number of patients waiting for this procedure down 672 since last month. Overall, this initiative has seen a reduction of 5,282 in the number of patients waiting the longest. The NTPF expects that no patient will be waiting for more than 12 months by the end of the year. I see this as a really important sign of what the NTPF can achieve and the benefit of targeted initiatives.

“The HSE has advised that, since August, there has been a reduction of over 8,000 patients on the Inpatient/Daycase Waiting List under the Waiting List Action Plan either through treatment provision, clinical validation or being given a date for their procedure to take place.

“In addition, a further €11m funding from the Winter Initiative has been allocated to provide treatment to patients on Inpatient/Daycase Waiting List. Of this, €7 million has been allocated to a targeted waiting list programme for Orthopaedics, Spinal and Scoliosis, with over 600 patients benefitting. Already, over 570 orthopaedic and scoliosis patients have been treated or are scheduled for treatment through this initiative.

“There is no doubt that the number of people on waiting lists is too high but the really critical thing is how long people are waiting. I am determined that those who are waiting the longest are put first.

“Detailed work is already under way in my Department on an expanded initiative in 2017, supported by funding of €20 million, which will rise to €55 million in 2018. I recently granted approval to the NTPF for the first €5 million of this spending for an initiative focused on Daycase procedures, which account for 70% of the Inpatient/Daycase Waiting List. The NTPF anticipates that 2,500 of the longest waiting Daycase patients can be treated under this initiative with the aim that no patient would be waiting over 18 months for a day case procedure by June of next year.

The HSE continue to progress the target of reducing the 18 month and over waiting list for Inpatient and Daycase procedures by 50% by the end of the year.

“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the considerable work which has been ongoing in hospitals since August to deliver on the HSE’s Waiting List Action Plan 2016. I appreciate that it has been challenging for hospitals and Hospital Groups in maintaining a focus on driving down the Inpatient/Daycase Waiting Lists, while at the same time managing the growing demand for emergency care.”