There was a little bit of good news for people on public hospital waiting lists
There was a little bit of good news for people on public hospital waiting lists this week it seems.
RTE News reported on an internal briefing paper from the Department of Health it got its hands on.
The document said that while overall hospital waiting list numbers have remained broadly constant, year to date long waiters have been falling significantly across all targets.
The document apparently says that countries across Europe are reporting increased pressure on waiting lists, largely due to the huge impact of the pandemic.
It claims that waiting list increases in Ireland have not been as significant as those experienced in the North and in England.
That’s not much of a consolation for people waiting months or even years in discomfort for orthopaedic surgery for example.
Some of the positive figures claimed by the Department are that the number of patients waiting over 12 months for a gastrointestinal scope has fallen by 78% in the year to date.
The number waiting for over 12 months for an inpatient/day case treatment has reportedly reduced by 15% in the year to date.
It says that the number waiting over 18 months for outpatients has fallen by 25% in the year to date.
The Department says that waiting lists remain too long and that Covid-19 infection control measures are affecting efforts to reduce lists.
The Covid-19 excuse for everything is getting a bit thin now, given the pandemic has largely subsided.
But any reduction in the waiting periods for long waiters will be welcome.
However, the Department of Health also issued a warning.
It said that the challenges will be to maintain planned operations during the winter months and securing nursing staffing levels in orthopaedic wards and theatres.
The last national waiting list figures for October from the National Treatment Purchase Fund put the total at over 841,000 patients waiting for treatment, a fall of 11,200 on the previous month.