Press Release

Minister O´Malley pleased with continuing downward trend in waiting time on hospital waiting lists

Mr Tim O’Malley T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children today (17 November2003) welcomed the continuing progress in dealing with hospital waiting lists.

The number of adults waiting over 12 months for treatment in the nine target surgical specialties has fallen by 43% from June 2002 to June 2003. In the same period the number of children waiting over six months for surgery has decreased by 57%.

The Minister attributed the progress made to Government Initiatives such as the National Treatment Purchase Fund whose remit is to focus on those patients who have waited longest for surgical procedures. The number of patients being referred by the Fund for treatment has increased from 200 per month at the beginning of this year to over 800 per month. To date, over 8,000 patients have received treatment under the National Treatment Purchase Fund. Despite continuing pressure on the acute hospital system, the number of long waiting patients is reducing. If adult patients have been on a hospital in-patient waiting list for 6 months or children for 3 months the National Treatment Purchase Fund will facilitate their treatment. There is still capacity which is not being fully utilised and the Minister urged patients to contact the Fund’s Lo-call number 1890 720 820 to access this service.

Minister O´Malley further stated that progress was continuing in the Mid-Western Health Board area. For instance the number of people in the region waiting for day case surgery improved by 20% between March and June, 2003. There were now very few people on in-patient lists for orthopaedic surgery who are waiting excessive times. The total number of patients treated under the National Treatment Purchase Fund Initiative in the Mid-Western Region is now 327.