Press Release

Minister Martin announces 23% reduction in hospital waiting list figures for the first quarter of 2001

Figures released today by the Minister for Health and Children show that hospital waiting list figures stood at 26,382 at the end of March 2001. This figure represents an overall decrease of 23% in waiting list numbers relative to the comparable figure for 2000.

Reductions in waiting lists have been achieved across every health board region in the period March 2000 to March 2001:-

North Western Health Board down 44%
Mid-Western Health Board down 40%
Southern Health Board down 40%
North Eastern Health Board down 34%
Midland Health Board down 28%
South Eastern Health Board down 27%
Eastern Regional Health Authority down 16%
Western Health Board down 13%


Target Specialties

Since March 2000 there have been significant reductions in the waiting lists for target specialities:-

  • Cardiac Surgery down by 52%
  • Gynaecology down by 49%
  • Ophthalmology down by 29%
  • Orthopaedics down by 27%
  • ENT down by 27%

“In 2000 targeted waiting list funding resulted in nearly 19,000 additional procedures being carried out on patients. £34.5 million is being made available to health agencies in 2001 to support waiting list procedures. I will continue to focus on hospital waiting lists and waiting times to ensure that the trend in waiting lists continues downward and to ensure shorter waiting times” the Minister said.

Hospital waiting lists must be viewed against the background of overall hospital activity of 870,000 in-patient discharges in 2000, nearly half a million of which were admitted as elective patients. The number of people on hospital in-patient waiting lists represent 3% of all in-patient discharges.

The March 2001 figures have been compiled in line with the same classification and recording procedures of previously published waiting lists.

Over the last number of years the hospital system has been striving for greater efficiencies and this has been reflected in the increase in day case activity. In 2000, day case activity accounted for 37% of all in-patient discharges. However, arising from work recently carried out by the Department of Health and Children, the Eastern Regional Health Authority and health board representatives it has emerged that anomalies exist in the classification, recording and reporting of day case waiting lists. The Department is aware that two hospitals in the ERHA region, Beaumont Hospital and James Connolly Memorial Hospital, are reporting their day case waiting list for the first time. However, for the purposes of consistency and comparison these figures are not included. The Minister has requested that all health agencies be asked to produce separate in-patient and day case data. It is also the Minister´s intention to ensure that a set of standardised criteria be used for waiting list procedures and for the validation of waiting lists. As part of this exercise, in-depth analysis of the day case procedures will also be undertaken to provide for clearer and more accurate information.