Press Release

Minister Martin publishes hospital waiting list figures for september 2001

Figures released today (19th December 2001) by the Minister for Health and Children show that hospital waiting list figures stood at 26,345 at the end of September 2001. These figures represent an overall decrease of 3,312 or 11% in waiting list numbers relative to the comparable figure for 2000.

Significant reductions have been achieved in some Health Board areas over the previous twelve months, for example –

  • Southern Health Board – down 32%
  • South Eastern Health Board – down 29%
  • Midland Health Board – down 26%
  • North Western Health Board – down 23%

The number of adults waiting for more than 12 months for treatment in the target specialties has fallen by 17% over the period September 2000 to September 2001. The number of children waiting for more than 6 months for treatment in the target specialties has fallen by 8% over the same period.

Target Specialties

Since September 2000 there have been significant reductions in the waiting lists for target specialties: –

  • Cardiac Surgery – down by 61%
  • ENT – down by 30%
  • Gynaecology – down by 28%
  • Ophthalmology – down by 8%
  • Orthopaedics – down by 7%

Provisional figures for the first nine months of this year indicate that there will be an estimated 920,000 in-patient discharges in 2001. This represents an increase of nearly 50,000 over the number of patients discharged in 2000 reflecting an increase of 6% in hospital activity in 2001. The number of people currently on hospital in-patient waiting lists represents less than 3% of all in-patient discharges.

The new Health Strategy will provide a framework for the reform of the acute hospital system and improved access for public patients. It includes a plan covering the actions required to address the issue of waiting lists and particularly waiting times. An additional 650 acute beds will be provided by the end of 2002 thus providing extra capacity for the treatment of public patients on waiting lists. The 650 additional beds to be provided in 2002 are part of the provision of an additional 3,000 beds for public patients as outlined in the Health Strategy.

A new dedicated Treatment Purchase Fund will be used for the sole purpose of purchasing treatments for public patients who have waited more than three months from their out-patient appointment, until the target of treatment within three months is met by the end of 2004.

“I am confident that the measures announced in the strategy will have a significant effect on waiting lists and will ensure a more accessible and equitable service for all public patients,” the Minister said.