Half a million patients waiting for first outpatient consultation

By Denise O’Donoghue

Figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) show 523,225 people are waiting for their first hospital outpatient consultation.

The latest public hospital waiting list data was published today

    According to the data, at the end of January 2019:
  • 72,027 patients were waiting for an appointment for their inpatient or daycase treatment.
  • 19,748 patients were waiting to receive an appointment for their GI endoscopy.
  • 523,225 patients are waiting for a first hospital outpatient consultation.

The NTPF also published data on pre-admit, planned procedure and suspension lists.

The data shows 27,310 people have been given a date for their inpatient/daycase or endoscopy procedure.

75,175 patients who have already had treatment and require further treatment at a future date are recorded and 62,044 of these patients have indicative dates in the future or have an appointment.

12,452 patients who are temporarily unfit or unable to attend due to clinical, personal or social reasons are classified as suspended. The suspension category is also used where patients are being treated through various insourcing or outsourcing Initiatives.

Commenting on the figures, Fianna Fáil's Stephen Donnelly said the number is the highest ever recorded of people waiting for an outpatient appointment.

“Almost 11% of the population are waiting for an outpatient consultation and a huge number of them are waiting a very significant period for one," he said.

“158,413 are waiting over a year with 96,243 of them left waiting on a list longer than 18 months. It is four years since Leo Varadkar, as Health Minister, set a target that no-one would wait more than 18 months and we are further away than ever from reaching that target.

Ireland’s three children’s hospitals have 11,825 children waiting over a year and a half for appointments; figures that are simply appalling.

“I am also concerned that following improvements during 2018 in the number of inpatient/day case patients waiting, the number waiting has increased to 72,027.

“Despite pledges in 2018 Minister Harris never published an outpatient action plan. As the number waiting over 18 months is now heading for 100,000 it is ever more urgent that he do so.”

The NTPF was allocated €75m in Budget 2019, an increase of €20m on 2018.

This year, the NTPF expects to arrange treatment for 25,000 patients on the active inpatient/daycase waiting list, 5,000 gastrointestinal endoscopies and 40,000 first-time outpatient consultant appointments.

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