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Surgery waiting lists to be cut to 9 months by 2013 - Reilly

The health minister has unveiled ambitious new plans for the Special Delivery Unit, lowering the maximum time for treatment.

Image: markhillary via Flickr

ANYBODY ON A waiting list for elective surgery in hospitals should be treated within nine months, under ambitious new targets set out by the Minister for Health today.

James Reilly’s new targets for his department’s Special Delivery Unit reduce the previous target, where people on waiting lists for elective surgery should be treated within a year of joining the list.

The new targets also outline that nobody should be on a hospital trolley for more than nine hours, but that 95 per cent of patients should be treated within six hours of presenting in a hospital.

The minister has also announced a series of organisational changes, including the grouping of hospitals and the transfer of various functions into the Department of Health, in a bid to improve patient experiences.

The announcements were made at a conference where it was announced that the average number of people per day waiting on trolleys in September was 65 higher than it had been 12 months previously.

By early December that gap had been eliminated, and the average number on trolleys is now roughly 50 lower than it was a year ago.

41 hospitals, 95 per cent of the total, had met the 2011 target to ensure that nobody was on a surgical waiting list for over 12 months – compared to the end of 2010 when there were 28 hospitals whose waiting lists were over 12 months long.

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Gavan Reilly

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