Improving the evidence base for policy decision making

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Stephen Donnelly
Stephen Donnelly

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly has welcomed the publication of three Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) research papers as part of the ‘Acute Hospital Waiting Lists and Times’ series to improve the evidence base for policy decision making.

The aim of this series is to further inform discussions on structural causes of, and solutions to, acute hospital waiting lists in Ireland.

  • The first paper examines the determining factors of when the number of patients referred for elective care (the inflow) is greater than the number of patients assessed or treated and removed from the list (the outflow) and how Ireland compares internationally on these determinants.
  • The second paper examines the range of interventions used internationally to try to reduce waiting lists/times and summarises conclusions from four previous literature reviews on the effectiveness of these interventions across Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
  • The third paper examines how Ireland compares internationally on wait times and analyses trends in waiting lists and long waits in Ireland. (The analyses includes the pre- COVID-19 pandemic period of 2014 to 2019 and the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic to end 2021).

The Minister said, “Reducing waiting lists and times is a key priority for me and for this Government. Publication of the ‘Acute Hospital Waiting Lists and Times’ research papers follows the launch of the 2023 Waiting List Action Plan which sets out the Government’s ongoing work to continue to address waiting lists this year. Activity funded under the 2023 Plan, that commenced in January, continues the work initiated in the 2021 and 2022 Action Plans. In 2023, €443 million has been allocated in the Budget to continue this work. These research papers help to develop an understanding of how Ireland compares internationally as well as trends in waiting lists and times in Ireland to end 2021. I welcome these papers as part of the expanding evidence base to support policy making in this area.”