Against a backdrop of evidence that shows there are thousands of patients waiting for operations and procedures that are not included in the waiting list figures., Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has called, once again, for a new single, integrated hospital waiting list management system to be introduced.
Deputy O’Reilly said: “Sinn Féin has proposed a new single, integrated hospital waiting list management system where people can move from one hospital to another to reduce waiting times. We have called this system Comhliosta. Indeed, we presented our proposal to the Minister but he refused to meet with us to discuss this.
“Under the current system waiting lists vary drastically across our hospitals. Patients do not know where they stand on the list or how long they will be waiting. People waiting for similar procedures can wait different lengths of time depending on which hospital they have been referred to. And now, we find out, there are further waiting lists hidden within the health service- masked from official public figures and skewing the realities of our waiting list crisis.
“We want to do away with that. We would introduce a new IT system based on the one in use in the Portuguese NHS which would generate new maximum waiting times by transferring those on the list from hospitals that are struggling to meet demand to those that are in a better position to perform the procedure more timely.
“When I have pressed the Minister or the HSE on the need for a new, single, integrated hospital waiting list management system, I have been met with refrains that it is one option presented as part of a digital package solution. But we are no clearer on the Minister’s intention to bring this forward. Indeed, the HSE argue, according to documents, that €1million is sufficient to advance this.
“It would seem that the Minister would be better off investing public funds in this type of new system, and the digital solutions required to modernise our health service, than relying on the NTPF, which has demonstrated its inability to be transparent in its management of public waiting lists. Indeed, investment in developing capacity in the public health system would be more beneficial in the long term.”