To ask the Minister for Health in advance of Ireland’s hosting of the European Month of the Brain as part of the EU Presidency, the measures being taken to reduce waiting times for neurological medical consultations..
– Seán Kyne T.D.
Improving access to outpatient services is a key priority for the Government. In 2012 the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) initiated a national project to compile, for the first time, an Outpatient Waiting List database based on patient-level information from individual hospitals. Now, for the first time, clear data on the OPD waiting list is being reported and is published on www.ntpf.ie. The collation and analysis of outpatient waiting time data in a standardised format will reveal the distribution of long waiters across all hospitals. In the first instance, this will allow resources to be targeted towards those patients who are waiting longest and ensure that they are seen and assessed. For 2013, a maximum waiting time target has now been set of 12 months for a first time outpatient appointment.
In parallel with reducing the numbers of longest waiters, the SDU will also work with the HSE Clinical Programmes to reform the structure, organisation and delivery of outpatient services to ensure that the right patient is seen and assessed by the right health professional at the right time.
In relation to the particular query raised by the Deputy, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in this matter.