Waiting lists up again
The number of people waiting over 12 months for hospital procedures increased in January, figures to be published later this week are expected to show.
Under an initiative being run by Health Minister James Reilly's Special Delivery Unit (SDU), the number of patients waiting over 12 months for planned hospital treatment dropped from around 1,200 in the middle of last year to around 370 at the end of 2012.
Minister Reilly had ordered that all hospitals should have no patients waiting longer than 12 months for operations by the end of 2011. However, there were still 372 patients in this waiting time category at the end of December last, all of whom were waiting at Galway/Merlin Park regional hospitals.
However, new figures are expected to show that the numbers waiting over 12 months increased further at the end of January, and there were 12 month-plus waiters in a number of hospitals.
Hospitals have been warned by the HSE that if they have not reduced to zero their numbers of 12 month-plus waiters, or have not made reasonable efforts to do so, by the end of this month they will be subject to fines and the patients concerned will be treated elsewhere.
The last published waiting list figures from the HSE, for the end of December 2011, showed a total of 28,850 patients were waiting over three months for procedures.
This compared to 26,823 patients waiting over three months at the end of November and over 30,000 waiting last September.
[Posted: Thu 29/03/2012]