The HSE is committed to tackling long wait times and it remains one of our key priorities in line with the Waiting List Action Plan which commenced in August.
Over 8,000 patients have come off the waiting list since then, either through treatment provision, clinical validation, or being given a date for their procedure to take place. In the past week alone, approximately 700 patients have been come off the waiting list. The NTPF figures, released today, show a further reduction of 948 on last month. Today’s figures also show that the number of patients waiting 15 to 18 months for Inpatient and Daycase Procedures has reduced by 364.
All hospitals have waiting list improvement plans in place to meet the end of year target. The key issue for patients is how long they wait. Based on the current NTPF figures:
- 37% of patients are waiting less than 3 months for an inpatient/daycase procedure, an improvement of 3% on last month
- 57% are waiting less than 6 months for an inpatient/daycase procedure
- 90% of adult patients treated within the national target time of 15 months, an improvement of 2% on October
- 67% are treated within the 8 month target, also showing a 2% improvement
The total number of patients awaiting a routine endoscopy procedure continues to decrease, down 672 in total from last month. Since its launch in June 2016, the NTPF Endoscopy Initiative has focused on reducing the number of patients waiting longest for a routine endoscopy. It was identified at the beginning of the Initiative that 5,700 patients would be waiting over 12 months for their procedure by the year end. The NTPF figures released today show the considerable impact of this initiative, and the significant work completed in our hospitals on waiting list management, with 5,282 patients taken off the list, and 419 patients still waiting. It is anticipated that no patients will be waiting for more than 12 months by the end of year. Furthermore, the most current data available demonstrates that patients are receiving their urgent colonoscopy procedure within the 4 week waiting time target, with very few exceptions to date. The HSE continues to ensure that this performance is sustained.
Outpatient lists have been increasing, with an average weekly increase of over 1,200 patients this year to date. Most of this growth is explained by the significant increase in referrals to acute outpatient services. To the end of September, there was a sustained increase in referrals each month in the order of 10% in comparison with 2015. The Outpatient Services Performance Improvement Programme is working on targeted plans with a number of specialties to put sustainable solutions in place to address general access times, which will in turn, address ‘long-waiters’. These specialties are orthopaedics, urology, general surgery and ENT. Pathways of care that will extend access options for patients are also being developed with dermatology, rheumatology and ophthalmology. This process will be extended to all specialties in the coming months.
We are also seeking to address the issue of failure to attend appointments by patients. To put this in context, 416,000 patients failed to attend their outpatient appointment in 2015. This figure represents 50% of the Outpatients capacity for new patients. The HSE requests patients to notify the service in advance if they cannot attend. This will ensure that Outpatient clinic slots are available for new patients.
Recruitment of Special Delivery Unit (SDU) Improvement Leads is almost complete, and it is expected that leads will be assigned to each Hospital Group by Quarter 1, 2017 to drive process improvements, and to support hospitals in meeting Waiting List targets and other key performance indicators.
Last updated on: 09 / 12 / 2016