3,000 to get fast tracked endoscopy procedure
Around 3,000 people waiting for endoscopy procedures are set to be the first beneficiaries from the reactivation of the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).
Health Minister Simon Harris is set to announce that €1m will be made available to help bring the waiting list for endoscopies down to under 12 months by the end of this year.
The Programme for Government commits to €15m for the NTPF in 2017, however as part of Mr Harris's plan to "prioritise" the reduction of hospital waiting list he is moving the reinvestment date forward.
The fund collects data on waiting lists and had previously been used to pay for patients on the longest lists to be treated in private hospitals or abroad.
It had been wound down in recent years in a move the new minister described as "unfortunate".
Today Mr Harris will confirm that the NTPF is to run an Endoscopy Waiting List Initiative, which will see 3,000 people who have been waiting more than 12 months receive their procedure by the end of this year.
"This is very good news for thousands of patients who have been on waiting lists and [are] anxious to have their procedures," he said.
"I am very pleased that following close collaboration between my department, the NTPF and the HSE, this initiative will ensure that by the end of the year, no patient will be waiting over 12 months for an endoscopy procedure."
The NTPF will work with public hospitals to ensure that the hospitals validate their waiting lists and identify patients who will continue to be treated by the public hospital. After this they will identify those patients who will qualify to have their procedure outsourced to a private hospital if they wish.
In addition, the RCSI Hospital Group is undertaking an "insourcing endoscopy initiative" within its group of hospitals.
Under this initiative, some patients on the endoscopy list at Beaumont Hospital will have the opportunity to have it carried out at other hospitals in the group, such as at Connolly or Cavan General Hospital.
Beaumont Hospital will also participate in the NTPF Endoscopy Initiative 2016 to support it in ensuring that it also reaches the target by the end of 2016.
"Over the coming months, my department will engage on a regular basis with the NTPF and the HSE to monitor progress on this initiative," said Mr Harris.