Government to set new targets on reducing in-patient waiting numbers

Plan seeks to reduce out-patient appointment numbers to 509,000

The plan is being introduced by Minsiter for Health Simon Harris. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

The plan is being introduced by Minsiter for Health Simon Harris. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The Government is to set itself new targets to reduce the number of people waiting for in-patient or day case treatment in hospital by about 10,000 by the end of the year.

A new plan to be set out by the Minister for Health Simon Harris on Monday will also seek to reduce the number of people waiting for an out-patient appointment to see a hospital consultant to 509,000.

The Irish Timesreported on Saturday that there were 542,000 patients are waiting to be seen by a specialist for the first time in February.

Hospital services last month were affected by the three-day strike by nurses which led to the cancellation of thousands of planned appointments.

It is understood that under a scheduled care access plan for 2019 to be published by the Minister on Monday, the Government will commit to reduce the overall number of patients on in-patient day cases the waiting list from just over 70,200 in December 2018 to under 60,000.

The Government is expected to set targets as part of the new plan to reduce the number of patients waiting longer than three months from 40,200 at the end of 2018 to 31,000.

It will also give a commitment that the number of patients waiting longer than nine months will reduce from 14,900 at the end of 2018 to 10,000.

Under the plan all clinically suitable patients waiting more than six months for cataracts; joint replacements; varicose veins; tonsillectomies; cystoscopies; angiograms; lesions; laparoscopic cholecystectomies; septoplasties; dental/maxillofacial surgery will be offered treatment in 2019.

The plan will also set a target of reducing the number of people waiting for an out-patient appointment from the 516,000 at the end of 2018 to 509,000.