Dáil Éireann - Volume 610 - 22 November, 2005

Written Answers. - National Treatment Purchase Fund.

  98. Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will clarify that the waiting times for procedures under the National Treatment Purchase Fund is three months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35413/05]

  Ms Harney: The National Treatment Purchase Fund has reported that in most instances anyone waiting more than three months for a routine surgical procedure will be facilitated by the fund. A patient may contact the fund directly or through his or her general practitioner, hospital or consultant to have his or her treatment arranged. The fund has pointed out, however, that in certain cases, for reasons of clinical or patient complexity, it may not be possible for the fund to arrange treatment immediately.

Up to the end of October, 36,300 patients have had treatment arranged for them by the National Treatment Purchase Fund. The fund has made significant progress in reducing waiting times for patients.

[1220] I launched the NTPF new patient treatment register, PTR, in early September. The PTR is a new national database of patients waiting for admission to hospital for treatment. The register will allow for more accurate identification of waiting lists, and more importantly, waiting times. The first phase of the register was implemented in September 2005. Phase 1 of the project includes data from seven hospitals which, under the previous waiting list system, accounted for approximately 40% of the total number of patients waiting nationally. The published data for the seven hospitals showed that, on average, patients are waiting between two to four months for their operation for 17 out of the 20 most common surgical procedures.