04 Jul 2022

Irish hospital waiting lists to be tackled by new plan to stem growth

Irish hospital waiting lists to be tackled by new plan to stem growth

Irish hospital waiting lists to be tackled by new plan to stem growth

Irish hospital waiting list backlogs will be tackled by the end of the year thanks to a new short-term plan to "stem further growth". 

That's according to Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, who said that although waiting lists were bad before the Covid-19 pandemic, they are worse now. 

Speaking about the Acute Hospital Waiting List Plan, Minister Donnelly said, "This immediate-short term plan is a joint approach by the HSE, the NTPF and my Department to tackle backlogs and to stem any further growth in waiting lists by the end of this year. [It] has targets in areas of waiting list management, immediate capacity, improved pathways of care and improved data collection and information." 

He said, "We must take remedial action to ensure [waiting lists] don’t get any worse. Most routine scheduled care had to be deferred at various stages over the past 18 months, in order to prioritise Covid and urgent time-critical care. This has had an unavoidable adverse impact on waiting lists." 

Alongside this plan, a second longer term Multi Annual Waiting List Plan will be overseen by a Ministerial taskforce to bring waiting lists in line with the Sláintecare maximum of 10 weeks for outpatients, 12 weeks of inpatient day case and 10 days for diagnostics. 

The plan will include real-time health data and trends across emergency departments, outpatient services, theatres, diagnostic services and bed management, which will reportedly increase visibility and allow managers and clinicians to make urgent interventions when necessary. 

The minister said these targets will take time and determination to achieve, however he has reportedly promised the backlog will receive the same focus given to Covid-19 and the vaccine rollout. 

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