Dáil Éireann - Volume 584 - 27 April, 2004

Written Answers. - National Treatment Purchase Fund.

[490]   567. Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 141 and 142 of 7 April 2004, the hospitals and the specialists with which there are difficulties with patient referrals in the eastern region; the nature of the difficulties referred to; the service providers with whom the national treatment purchase fund has reported difficulties; the numbers awaiting treatment from each of the service providers and the length of waiting time involved in each case; and if the service providers, according to the national treatment purchase fund reports, fail to accept patients in need of treatment until offered additional patients. [11534/04]

  Mr. Martin: I am advised that the national treatment purchase fund, NTPF, has experienced some difficulties regarding patient referrals from St. Vincent’s University Hospital, James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital and the MWHB. Given the evolution of the fund and the significant progress it has made to date in reducing waiting times for patients, it is not appropriate to attribute lack of co-operation to any individual consultant at this time. Doing so might prejudice the negotiating position of the NTPF on resolving difficulties being experienced in the referral of patients to the fund. As I have previously pointed out, it is still open to patients or GPs to contact the NTPF directly to inquire about treatment and to make the necessary arrangements. I am arranging to have details of the numbers of patients on the waiting lists of the hospitals concerned forwarded to the Deputy.