Hospital waiting lists published in September by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) showed that targeted activity under the Waiting List Action Plan continued to run ahead of target at the end of August, according to the Department of Health.
The Department said that figures also showed however that, in common with health services across Europe, we continued to see significantly higher additions to waiting lists than projected.
“The total number of patients treated/removed from the OPD, IPDC and GI Scope waiting lists was c.44k (c.4.8%) which continue ahead of target, while additions to waiting lists in the same period were c.71.7k (c.7.8%) higher than projected.
“Additions to waiting lists were also 109k (c.12.4 %) higher than in the same period in 2022 and 166.3k (c.20.3%) higher than the same period in 2019 (which was pre-pandemic). The Health Service Executive attributes higher than anticipated additions to waiting lists to several factors, including post-pandemic pent-up demand.
We now have 497,963 people on the Active Waiting Lists (inpatient / day case, GI Scopes and outpatients) waiting longer than the Sláintecare maximum wait times.
“As at the end of August 2023:
- 51,121 people are currently exceeding the 12-week inpatient / day case (IPDC) target which is a 2% increase compared to the end of July.
- 10,697 people are exceeding the 12-week GI Scope target which is a 6% increase compared to the end of July.
- 436,145 people are exceeding the 10-week outpatient (OPD) target, which is a 1% increase compared to the end of July.”
The Department said the health service was treating significantly more patients. For the most recently available 12 months of data, there were 3.5 million outpatient and c.1.8 million inpatient/day case attendances. In addition to this scheduled care, our hospital system also treated c.1.7 million patients during this same period in emergency care, which represented an 11% increase on 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels and reflected the ongoing pressure on hospitals and increased Emergency Department (ED) attendances, particularly amongst older people.
“Such pressures have had the expected knock-on impact on scheduled care in many of our hospitals in the first half of this year, which has resulted in some waiting lists temporarily increasing. However, there are many examples of individual hospitals delivering significant improvements in waiting times, despite such challenges.
For example, over the past year, Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore has reduced the number of patients waiting over 12 months for an IPDC procedure by 98% in the last year, from 252 to 4, Mallow General Hospital has reduced the number of patients waiting over 18 months for an OPD appointment by 55% in the last year, from 376 to 171 and Roscommon University Hospital has reduced the number of patients waiting for a colonoscopy or OGD appointment by 63% in the last year, from 521 to 192.