Press Release

Minister Martin welcomes continuing reductions in the number of patients on hospital waiting lists

The Minister for Health and Children, Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D today (22nd December, 2003) welcomed the continuing reduction in the overall number of patients on hospital waiting lists between June and September 2003.

Waiting times

In-patient Waiting Times for Adults

The reduction in the number of adults waiting longest for in-patient treatment is continuing. The number of adults waiting more than 12 months for treatment in the nine target surgical specialties has fallen by approximately 14% (from 4,252 to 3,658) between June and September 2003. This represents a decrease of 42% between September 2002 and September 2003.

Waiting lists

The overall number of patients on hospital waiting lists stood at 27,212 at the end of September 2003. This figure includes both in-patient waiting lists and day case waiting lists and represents an annual decrease of approximately 7% or 1,962 on the figure for the quarter ending September 2002 (29,174). It also represents a decrease of 918 patients since June 2003.

In-Patient Waiting Lists

Hospital in-patient waiting list figures stood at 16,331 at the end of September 2003. This is a decrease of 2,905 or 15% since September 2002 and a decrease of 327 since June 2003.

Day Case Waiting Lists

Hospital day case waiting list figures stood at 10,881 at the end of September 2003, which represents a decrease of 5% or 591 since the quarter ending June 2003.

In-Patient Waiting Times for Children

The number of children waiting more than 6 months for treatment in the nine target surgical specialties has decreased by 39% (1,201 to 734) between September 2002 and September 2003. However there has been a slight increase in the numbers waiting since June 2003 from 676 to 734. The Eastern Regional Health Authority has been requested to undertake further validation of children’s waiting lists.

Very significant progress continues to be made in tackling waiting times in the nine target surgical specialties. All Health Boards outside of the eastern region are reporting that, in general, those adults currently reported to be waiting more than 12 months and those children reported to be waiting more than 6 months have either been offered treatment under the National Treatment Purchase Fund(NTPF) or have conditions that are complicated and need to be treated locally. All hospitals are actively validating their waiting lists to identify those who are still waiting longest and offer treatment under the NTPF to those in a position to avail of that service.

The Minister said that “There is no need for most adults or children to have to wait for admission to hospital for routine treatment. The NTPF has already treated over 9,300 patients covering a wide variety of treatments in the surgical specialties. I would urge patients to contact the NTPF to find out if they qualify for treatment and when and where that treatment can be arranged.”