Action plan on waiting lists to be implemented later this year

It aims to reduce by 50% the number of patients waiting over 18 months

Action plan on waiting lists to be implemented later this year

Health Minister Simon Harris speaking to the media in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Department of Health says an action plan to tackle patients on waiting lists will be implemented in the latter half of 2016.

The plans aims to reduce by 50% the number of patients waiting over 18 months by year end.

It will also see clinical validation of all inpatient/daycase waiting lists, where patients are waiting longer than 15 months by the end of August.

There are currently 3,488 patients waiting for a inpatient/daycase procedure for more than 18 months, with a further 3,909 due to reach this waiting time should they not be treated by the end of the year.

The reduction by 50% of this figure would be an important step towards meeting the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to targeting those waiting longest.

While the Health Service Executive (HSE) is to roll out a Waiting List Improvement Programme in each hospital group.

The plan will also see the HSE to develop further waiting list proposals for 2016, for targeted measures to address waiting lists in a number of specialist areas.

'Action we can take now'

The news comes as the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) says July saw record numbers of patients on trolleys in our hospitals.

Health Minister Simon Harris said: "Reducing patient waiting times is a priority and requires a concerted effort."

"The Programme for Government clearly commits to €50m from 2017 for waiting list initiatives with at least €15m of this supporting a reactivated (National Treatment Purchase Fund) NTPF."

"However, I wanted to see what action we can take now to help those waiting longest and that's why I asked the HSE to develop an action plan for 2016 that would achieve tangible improvements in how hospitals manage waiting lists."

"The HSE has now reported back to me with a set of specific actions that will be implemented between now and the end of the year."

"Each Hospital Group has developed a waiting list improvement plan and will implement these plans between now and the end of the year," he added.

The HSE Special Delivery Unit (SDU) will also be carrying out site visits to hospitals and Hospital Groups - and will have improvement leads working with hospitals to drive compliance with national waiting list targets.