More than 2,600 people are on neurology outpatient waiting lists at University Hospital Galway, Health Minister Simon Harris has confirmed – and of these, a total of 466 have been waiting for more than 18 months.
In a written question to the Minister, Galway West Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked what action would be taken to reduce outpatient waiting times for neurology consultations.
Minister Harris said that because of growing waiting lists, his Department is working with the HSE and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) to draw up an action plan.
He confirmed that 2,664 people are on the outpatient waiting list – of these, 466 are waiting more than 18 months; 120 are waiting between 15-18 months; 187 between 12-15 months; 286 from 9-12 months; 366 from 6-9 months; 423 from 3-6 months and 836 people have been up to three months on the list.
“Improving waiting times for hospital procedures and outpatient appointments is a key commitment in the Programme for Government. While the Inpatient and Day Case (IPDC) Action Plan was published in April to address waiting times for IPDC procedures, the outpatient waiting list remains a significant challenge to be addressed in 2018.
“There are currently 2,664 patients on the neurology outpatient waiting list in Galway University Hospital, with 70% (1,891) waiting less than a year.
“In order to address the issue of growing outpatient waiting list numbers, my Department, the HSE and the NTPF are in the process of finalising an Outpatient Action Plan for 2018.
“This plan will support the HSE’s compliance with its National Service Plan targets, reduce the growth in the number of patients waiting for outpatient services, improve the accuracy of the waiting list, and trial a number of NTPF-funded interventions, including weekend and out-of-hours clinics,” Minister Harris said in his reply to Deputy Ó Cuív.
He added that in 2017 nationally, 477,000 outpatients did not attend their appointment, so validation of waiting lists is important and the NTPF hopes to begin validation of all files from the new Central Validation Office from September.