HSE issues 'not going to be solved in one year' - Reid

The HSE wants maximum waiting times of 18 months for outpatient assessments
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.45 2 Mar 2022

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HSE issues 'not going to be so...

HSE issues 'not going to be solved in one year' - Reid

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.45 2 Mar 2022

Share this article

The head of the HSE says it wants to get back to solving the 'big challenges' facing the health service.

But Paul Reid admits problems it is facing won't be solved this year.

He was speaking after the launch the HSE National Service Plan for 2022.


The HSE expects to recruit only half the extra staff it has funding for this year, due to recruitment difficulties.

However, the plan commits to the delivery of 5,500 whole-time equivalent staff "at a minimum".

It also sets out to achieve maximum waiting times of 18 months for outpatient assessments, and 12 months for inpatient/day case treatment.

Mr Reid told Newstalk Breakfast he believes this can be done.

"It's very challenging, what we do know is throughout every wave of COVID - and we've had a cyber attack - waiting lists have been impacted.

"So certainly over the past two years, they have been particularly impacted.

"What we did do, and we can build our plans on now for 2022, we had a short-term plan from September to December of last year.

"And with a very targeted focus, we did reduce waiting lists by 5%.

"So what we're saying, specifically to your question for this year, a range of initiatives - €350m investment in total: €200m within the HSE, €150m within the NTPF.

"And that's geared towards getting extra capacity in the public system, utilising some extra capacity from the private system, very targeted initiatives from the NTPF.

"And a range of new clinical pathways where people can get their care; maybe not needing to see a consultant in the first instance, but skilled professional health practitioners."

'The big challenges'

He says they are expecting a surge in demand as COVID-19 wanes.

"For cancer, and all other services, we do expect to see a surge in demand.

"And that's also particular precise [sic] in relation to older person's care that we're seeing coming to our emergency departments.

"That's a challenge that we do have, but very significantly €20.7bn funding this year.

"We've challenging targets ahead... but I think everybody in healthcare really wants to get back to the big challenges, issues that we have.

"They're not going to be solved in one year, in 2022, but we all want to get back to the real issues we have to solve".

And he says the important thing now is to stay on top of waiting list numbers.

"We've an active waiting list of about 730,000 - but we do carry out about five million procedures a year.

"So what we want to do, this time, is stay on top of those numbers that come on to the waiting list in 2022.

"It's about 1.5 million, and our plan is to aim to remove about 1.7 million.

"So there'll be a net reduction of about 130,00... so very challenging, but very targeted initiatives."

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