Patient waiting times decrease


The number of public patients waiting over a year for surgery has decreased by 75 per cent in the last year, according to the latest figures from the Patient Treatment Register (PTR).

The reduction was because the public patients that were waiting the longest had been prioritised said Pat O’Byrne chief executive of the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).

The average waiting time for an operation has been reduced to 2.4 months.

This “is the lowest it has ever been. This compares to five years ago when patients were waiting on average two to five years,” he said.

Almost 500 patients had been waiting for surgery for over a year in November 2009 compared with over 1800 in November 2008. Over half of these patients are on waiting lists in three hospitals, Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Tallaght Hosptial and Mid-Western Regional Hospital Dooradoyle.

Arranging treatment for those on the waiting list was an “utmost priority” Mr O’Byrne said.

Of the longest waiting patients over half have not shown up for or responded to a schedules appointment and almost a tenth have declined an offer of NTPF treatment.