Written Answers - Hospital Waiting Lists

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 711 No. 3

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  68.  Deputy Jim O’Keeffe  Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe   asked the Minister for Health and Children  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   her views on whether there should be time limits on delays for appointments and treatment; if so, her further views on same; if she will indicate the progress that has been made in achieving targets, particularly in the orthopaedic area. [24003/10]

Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The improvement of access to outpatient services, a key access point to the acute hospital system and involving over three million attendances annually, is a priority for the health service. It is essential that people are afforded timely access to outpatient services when they require them and that these services function effectively as part of an integrated acute hospital and primary care system.

The HSE is engaged in a number of measures to improve access to and the efficiency of outpatient services. The principal aims of the National Outpatient Department Service Improvement Programme are to:

Increase the number of new patients seen;

Reduce the numbers who do not attend for scheduled appointments (DNAs);

Reduce waiting times for patients; and

Ensure that all patients are seen within 30 minutes of their appointment time.

The HSE is focusing on increasing new attendances in four specialties in 2010: orthopaedics, dermatology, rheumatology and neurology.

The HSE’s 2010 National Service Plan contains performance targets for OPD services of a 1:2 new-to-return patient ratio and a non-attendance rate of not more than 10%. In its Service Plan, at my request, the HSE is also committed to the development of new indicators, with the National Treatment Purchase Fund, to measure median waiting time from:

GP referral to attendance at outpatient;

Outpatient attendance to admission where this is indicated; and

GP referral to hospital admission.

[707]Outpatient waiting list data is currently collected primarily at individual hospital level. The HSE is therefore working to develop a system which will provide standardised and comparable national outpatient waiting list data, by hospital and specialty. The availability of such information will facilitate clinicians and health service managers in further improving the performance of outpatient services.

  69.  Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl   asked the Minister for Health and Children  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   her views on correspondence relating to a child (details supplied) in County Kildare who is awaiting assessment and treatment of their ADHD; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24031/10]

Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy John Moloney): Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

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