Dáil Éireann - Volume 476 - 25 March, 1997
Written Answers. - Hospital Waiting Lists.
Mr. M. Kitt Mr. M. Kitt
25. Mr. M. Kitt asked the Minister for Health the effect of the funds allocated for the waiting list initiative for 1995 and 1996 in the Western Health Board area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6796/97]
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East) Michael Noonan
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): Since the waiting list initiative commenced in June 1993, the Western Health Board has received substantial funding from my Department aimed at tackling the problem of waiting lists. The amounts allocated for this purpose in the years 1995 and 1996 are shown hereunder along with the additional activity which was carried out in those years:
Considerable progress has been made nationally in reducing waiting lists for surgery in the target specialties, and one of the largest reductions has been in the Western Health Board area. In December 1995, there were 2,365 people on waiting lists for hospital treatment in the WHB area. By December 1996, this figure had fallen by 27 per cent to 1,721. As the Deputy is aware, demand for acute hospital services in the west is mainly concentrated at University College Hospital, where the bulk of the reduction has occurred. In June 1996, 1,707 people were on that hospital's in patient waiting list and by December 1996 this figure was reduced to 1,172. This represents significant progress in the reduction of waiting lists and demonstrates my concern to ensure that the necessary resources are provided to improve waiting times for treatment in the west.
I am happy to assure the Deputy that special measures to reduce waiting lists will continue in 1997. The provision of special funding to reduce waiting times continues to be a priority for the Government and £4 million has been provided in the budget to continue progress in this area. This provision will bring to £8 million the total funding available in 1997 to address the problem of long waiting times for elective surgery. The funding provided in 1997 brings to £58 million the total resources committed to the reduction of hospital waiting lists since the current initiative commenced. My Department will be holding detailed  discussions with health agencies in the coming weeks on the allocation of the 1997 funding.
Dáil Éireann 476 Written Answers. Hospital Waiting Lists.