Child and outpatient waits up
The number of adult patients waiting over a year for hospital procedures has decreased slightly, although the number of children waiting over six months for treatment has increased, according to latest HSE figures for the end of April.
Meanwhile, the numbers waiting over a year for an outpatients appointment increased from 45,959 to 62,579 between March and April, according to the report.
There were 474 adult patients waiting over a year for treatment at the end of April, compared to 521 at the end of March.
Total waiting lists for adults and children decreased from 59,637 to 59,582 between March and April.
However, between the end of March and end of April, the number of children waiting over six months for hospital treatment increased from 1,014 to 1,042. The total number of children on waiting lists went up from 4,434 to 4,473 between March and April.
The April figures also show there were 258,383 people on outpatient waiting lists at the end of April, comprising 195,804 waiting under 12 months and 62,579 waiting over 12 months.
The numbers waiting over four years for an outpatient consultation increased to 1,520 in April from 806 in March.
More hospitals reported outpatient waiting list data in April compared to March, when a total of 204,000 patients were reported to be on outpatient waiting lists.
The HSE performance report shows that the HSE currently has a deficit of round €200 million, of which hospitals account for €106 million.
The report says in view of the pressures on services and finances, the HSE board is considering what further measures may be necessary to effect savings.
It says while hospital activity levels were still higher than budgeted for, there had been a recent reductiuon in activity.
However, the report says hospitals are challenged to meet the continuing high demand for services and live within their budgets.
The HSE, in its report, said the medical card and other community primary care schemes are predicting a deficit of €130 million for 2012 unless savings measures are implemented.
The HSE has said the recent decision to introduce new drugs for the public health system this year has affected its plan to make major savings on drug costs in 2012.
The HSE's latest performance report said it was planned that €100 million would be saved on State drug costs this year, but these savings have not yet materialised.
[Posted: Tue 19/06/2012]