Press Release

Minister Martin allocates an additional €16 million under the waiting list initiative and announces a 5% reduction in hospital waiting list figures for the first quarter of 2002

Figures released today (1st July, 2002) by the Minister for Health and Children show that hospital waiting list figures stood at 25,105 at the end of March 2002. This figure represents an overall decrease of 5% in waiting list numbers relative to the comparable figure for 2001. It also represents a decrease of 1,021 or 4% on the comparable number for December 2001.

There has been a reduction of 34% in the number of adults waiting for more than 12 months for ENT procedures and a fall of 33% in the number of adults waiting more than 12 months for ophthalmology procedures in the period March 2001 to March 2002. The total number of adults waiting for more than 12 months for treatment in the target specialties has fallen by 16% in the same period.

Significant reductions in waiting lists have been achieved in the period March 2001 to March 2002 across certain health boards:-

Midland Health Board – down 33%
Western Health Board – down 28%
Mid-Western Health Board – down 20%
Southern Health Board – down 9%

Target Specialties

Since March 2001 there have been reductions in the waiting lists for target specialties:-

Cardiac Surgery down by 41%
ENT down by 24%
Orthopaedics down by 8%

In 2001 targeted waiting list funding resulted in nearly 16,000 additional procedures being carried out. A sum of €27.8 million has already been made available to health agencies in 2002 under the Waiting List Initiative to support waiting list procedures.

“I am now allocating the remaining €16 million to health agencies available under the Waiting List Initiative in 2002 to tackle hospital waiting lists. This brings to €43.8 million the amount of dedicated funding provided in 2002 under the Waiting List Initiative. I have also provided funding of €30 million for the Treatment Purchase Fund in 2002 to purchase procedures for public patients. I will continue to keep the focus on hospital waiting lists to ensure that significant progress is made in reducing waiting times for public patients” the Minister said.

The March 2002 figures have been compiled in line with the same classification and recording procedures of previously published waiting lists.