Friday 23 March 2018

NHS in UK much more open with wait lists than here

NHS has different practices for recording waiting lists. (stock photo)
NHS has different practices for recording waiting lists. (stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The waiting list figures from the NHS in the UK are more comprehensive than in Ireland and include categories of patients who are not publicly disclosed here.

The NTPF, which compiles and validates waiting lists for Irish hospitals, does not include patients who have been given an appointment.

This week, the RTÉ Investigates expose revealed that if the NTPF published two extra categories of patient on the official lists, then it would mean the numbers waiting for in-patient, day-case surgery or other procedures in Irish hospitals at the end of December would have been 130,000 - as opposed to the official 81,105 figure.

The NTPF said it was following international best practices. However, the NHS confirmed yesterday its published waiting lists figures include patients who were still waiting to start treatment, regardless of whether they have a call "to come in".

A spokeswoman said the waiting time then continued to be recorded until they actually started treatment.

The NTPF in Dublin said it did not include patients who had been given an appointment for in-patient or day-case treatment within six weeks.

As of December 30 last, some 22,927 patients had been scheduled for treatment.

The NTPF also does not publish another category of patients who have undergone surgery and may need further operations and procedures.

The NHS said that, similarly in this regard, in general patients on planned waiting lists were outside the scope of measurement.

The spokeswoman said there were "definitional and coverage differences between waiting list measurement in different countries and the targets or operational standards in each country will also vary."

Irish Independent

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