Published on 

Monthly waiting list figures – Friday 15 September 2023

Monthly waiting list figures – Friday 15 September 2023

New hospital waiting list figures published today by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) show that targeted activity under the Waiting List Action Plan continues to run ahead of target at the end of August.

The figures also show however that, in common with health services across Europe, we continue to see significantly higher additions to waiting lists than projected.

The total number of patients treated/removed from the OPD, IPDC and GI Scope waiting lists was c.44k (c.4.8%) which continues ahead of target, while additions to waiting lists in the same period were c.71.7k (c.7.8%) higher than projected. Additions to waiting lists are also 109k (c.12.4 %) higher than in the same period in 2022 and 166.3k (c.20.3%) higher than the same period in 2019 (which was pre-pandemic). The Health Service Executive (HSE) attributes higher than anticipated additions to waiting lists to several factors, including post-pandemic pent-up demand.

We now have 497,963 people on the Active Waiting Lists (inpatient / day case, GI Scopes and outpatients) waiting longer than the Sláintecare maximum wait times.

As at the end of August 2023:

  • 51,121 people are currently exceeding the 12-week inpatient / day case (IPDC) target which is a 2% increase compared to the end of July.
  • 10,697 people are exceeding the 12-week GI Scope target which is a 6% increase compared to the end of July.
  • 436,145 people are exceeding the 10-week outpatient (OPD) target, which is a 1% increase compared to the end of July.

The latest hospital activity report published monthly by the HSE is now available online. This gives regular insight into acute activity levels, with millions of patients being seen and treated annually within our hospital system alone.

The health service is treating significantly more patients. For the most recently available 12 months of data, there were 3.5 million outpatient and c.1.8 million inpatient / day case attendances. In addition to this planned (‘scheduled’) care, our hospital system also treated c.1.7 million patients during this same period in emergency (‘unscheduled’) care, which represents a 11% increase on 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels and reflects the ongoing pressure on hospitals and increased Emergency Department (ED) attendances, particularly amongst older people.

Such pressures have had the expected knock-on impact on scheduled care in many of our hospitals in the first half of this year, which has resulted in some waiting lists temporarily increasing. However, there are many examples of individual hospitals delivering significant improvements in waiting times, despite such challenges.

For example, over the past year, Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore have reduced the number of patients waiting over 12 months for an IPDC procedure by 98% in the last year, from 252 to 4, Mallow General Hospital have reduced the number of patients waiting over 18 months for an OPD appointment by 55% in the last year, from 376 to 171 and Roscommon University Hospital have reduced the number of patients waiting for a colonoscopy or OGD appointment by 63% in the last year, from 521 to 192.

Notes to editors

The 2017 Houses of the Oireachtas Sláintecare report recommended maximum wait times of no more than 12 weeks for an inpatient / day case (IPDC) procedure or GI Scope and 10 weeks for a new outpatient (OPD) appointment.

The publication of monthly waiting list and activity figures by the NTPF and the HSE follows the launch of the 2023 Waiting List Action Plan on 7 March by the Minister for Health. The 2023 Plan continues the multi-annual approach to addressing waiting lists that commenced in Q4 2021 and details 30 actions focused on delivering capacity, reforming scheduled care, and enabling scheduled care reform. The 2023 Plan will fund the HSE and NTPF to reduce waiting lists by a further 10% this year as well as continuing to significantly reduce waiting times towards the Sláintecare recommended targets.