Press Release

Tánaiste welcomes new National Patient Register for easier access to hospital treatment

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Ms Mary Harney T.D., today (21st December 2004) welcomed the announcement by the National Treatment Purchase Fund of a new National Patient Register.

Ms Harney said: “We want to treat patients and get their waiting time down to the lowest possible level and we are making progress on the issue. To do so most effectively, we need a credible, accurate picture of the number of actual patients waiting for treatment, who and where they are, and what treatment they are waiting for.

“The new Patient Treatment Register will provide for the first time a true record of actual patients and will tell us the real extent of waiting lists, and more importantly waiting times. With a national register, patients will be contacted, offered treatment and have an option to wait in their local hospital or avail of treatment in another hospital. This system puts more power and information into the patients’ hands.”

The NTPF has informed the Department of Health and Children that the register will be implemented on a phased basis by July 2005 and a new national system will be in place by January 2006.

13,000 patients will have been treated by the Fund in 2004 bringing the total number treated to date to 23,000. It is now the case that, in most instances, anyone waiting more than three months for treatment will be facilitated by the Fund.