Government to remove 17,000 from hospital waiting lists under initiative
Number of patients waiting longer than nine months forecast to fall from 22,500 to 12,500
The plan will set out how the €50 million, which the Government has allocated to the NTPF this year to reduce waiting lists, will be spent. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill
The Government will seek to remove about 17,000 people from in-patient and day-case hospital waiting lists this year under an initiative to be launched on Thursday.
At the end of December there were about 81,500 people queuing for in-patient or day-case treatment in public hospitals.
Under the initiative, the Government aims to see this figure reduced to fewer than 70,000 by the end of the year, although the exact final number is likely to be determined by the number of new patients seeking treatment who are placed on waiting lists in the months ahead.
The action plan will say that within the overall number on waiting lists of fewer than 70,000, the number of patients waiting longer than three months is projected to reduce from 52,500 to 40,000 while the number of patients waiting longer than nine months is forecast to fall from 22,500 to 12,500.
The plan will set out how the €50 million, which the Government has allocated to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) this year to reduce waiting lists, will be spent.
Using a combination of HSE-provided care and procedures funded by the NTPF, the plan will seek that all clinically suitable patients waiting more than nine months will be offered treatment in seven areas: cataracts; hip/knee replacement; varicose veins; tonsillectomies; cystoscopies; coronary angiograms; and excision of lesions.
The NTPF will fund about 13,800 procedures in these seven categories in private hospitals or in public hospitals where there is available capacity.
In addition, the NTPF will arrange 5,000 procedures across a range of over 40 other procedures in 2018, including orthopaedic treatments, septoplasties, laparoscopic cholecystectomies (gallbladder), squint (strabismus), hernias, TURPs (transurethral resection of the prostate) and dental/maxillofacial surgery.
Under the new action plan, the NTPF will also seek to facilitate the provision of treatment to about 1,200 people who have been on hospital waiting lists for the longest time.
“The NTPF and HSE will undertake a piece of work in quarter II of 2018 to identify the longest waiters and to determine: what specialty/procedure they are waiting for; are the patient needs appropriate for a NTPF initiative or should they be treated by the HSE; appropriate care plans for the patients involved.”
The NTPF will also seek to arrange the provision of 4,000 gastrointestinal scopes at a cost of €4 million this year.
The plan will aim to ensure that all patients who are clinically suitable for outsourcing and who are waiting over nine months for a gastrointestinal scope will be offered treatment.