Dáil Éireann - Volume 499 - 27 January, 1999
Written Answers. - Hospital Services.
Mr. Shatter Mr. Shatter
529. Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of cancellations of elective surgery in each hospital between June 1997 and September 1998. [28329/98]
Mr. Shatter Mr. Shatter
579. Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of appointments made for elective surgery by each hospital which were cancelled in 1998; the number of persons whose surgery was cancelled who remain on waiting lists; and the specialities and hospitals concerned in respect of such cancellation. [1669/99]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): I propose to take Questions Nos. 529 and 579 together.
My Department does not routinely collect information on the number of cancellations of elective surgery in each hospital and, therefore, the information requested by the Deputy is not available. My Department has sought information in relation to the number of elective surgery cancellations for the period 1 December, 1998 to 15 January, 1999 which is attached.
The level of elective activity in the acute hospital system is planned by local management over a twelve month period having regard to anticipated levels of emergency admissions and the overall resources available. This forms a central part of the service planning process which is required of health boards under the Health (Amendment) Act 1996. On taking office I changed the system for the allocation of funding under the waiting list initiative to ensure that hospitals were advised of their funding under the initiative at the beginning of the year rather than well into the year as had always been the case before then. This has enabled improved planning of elective activity for the year as agencies can take account, from the outset, of both projected core activity and activity to be performed under the waiting list initiative in the target specialities.
It is important that cancellation of elective surgical procedures are viewed in the context of overall levels of activity delivered in the acute hospital sector against agreed service plans for the twelve month period. In this context, it should be noted that the total number of discharges, both in-patient and day-patient, for all hospitals  for the first ten months of 1998 was 676,635 which was almost three percent up on the figure of 656,005 for the same period in 1997. It also has to be understood that the unpredictable nature of activity generated by emergency admissions means that cancellations of elective procedures are inevitable from time to time as the system tries to cope with unexpected peaks. As part of the services planning process, it is a matter for agencies to attempt to take account of these peaks and troughs when planning their elective activity levels over a twelve month period.
Number of elective surgeries cancelled/postponed from 1/12/'98 to 15/1/'99
Dáil Éireann 499 Written Answers. Hospital Services.