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Over 600,000 people waiting for first outpatient consultation

Delays created by the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in a backlog of cases.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Schira

MORE THAN 600,000 people in Ireland are waiting for a first hospital outpatient consultation.

As of the end of July, 601,362 patients were waiting for their first consultation, according to the latest public hospital waiting list data published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).

There were just over 553,000 patients on the list at the start of the year, with the backlog created by the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in the number surpassing 600,000 for the first time.

At the end of last month, 80,283 patients were waiting for an appointment for their inpatient or day case treatment, and 34,983 patients were waiting to receive an appointment for their GI endoscopy.

The NTPF has also published data on pre-admit, planned procedure and suspension lists.

Planned procedures

The pre-admit data shows that 16,422 patients have been given a date for their inpatient/day case or endoscopy procedure. 85,987 patients are recorded in the planned procedure category and 62,869 of these patients have indicative dates in the future or have an appointment.

These are patients who have already had treatment and require further treatment at a future date – for example, a patient who has had a scope may require surveillance monitoring scopes in the future – and have been assigned indicative dates for treatment.

These indicative dates are determined by a clinician and treatment before these dates would not be appropriate.

As more patients are initially seen and given a follow-up appointment for ongoing treatment or surveillance, the number of patients on the planned procedure list increases.

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13,406 patients are classified as suspended – people who are temporarily unfit or unable to attend due to clinical, personal or social reasons. The suspension category is also used where patients are being treated through various insourcing or outsourcing initiatives.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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