EFFORTS are underway to address the high volumes of patients awaiting appointments or treatments at hospitals in Cork.
According to the latest figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), 5,670 adults and 388 children were waiting for inpatient treatment at hospitals in Cork at the end of August.
Almost 66,000 adults (65,819) were waiting for an outpatient appointment at a hospital in Cork, in addition to 7,995 children.
In recent days, the Government published an acute hospital waiting list plan which, it says, is aimed at mitigating the impact of the pandemic and the cyberattack on scheduled care activity earlier this year.
As part of this plan, waiting lists for each hospital are being assessed by hospital groups to allow for the development of specific plans to reduce the list by the year-end.
Governance arrangements and supports will be in place to ensure a focus on local waiting list reduction.
The NTPF and HSE will also be undertaking an exercise to remove any duplicates on waiting lists.
A spokesperson for the South/South West Hospital Group, which oversees 10 hospitals in the Southern region, including the Cork hospitals, told The Echo that “substantial work” has been undertaken to address waiting lists and manage the effects of the recent cyberattack and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on overall activity.
“The group has generated additional capacity through a variety of means, such as insourcing (out-of-hours capacity), use of the private hospital arrangement, and National Treatment Purchase Fund funding, eg additional endoscopy lists to reduce waiting times for patients; and hospitals are utilising new ways of working such as ‘telehealth’ for outpatient appointments, where appropriate,” the spokesperson said.
Yesterday, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly stated that his most urgent health priority for 2022 is taking immediate action to address waiting lists which, he admitted, were “unacceptably high” at present.
“My department, the HSE, and the National Treatment Purchase Fund are working on a multiannual waiting list plan to address waiting lists, bringing them in line with Sláintecare targets and addressing the significant backlog in waiting lists arising from the impact of Covid-19 in the past 18 months in both hospitals and community health services,” Mr Donnelly said.