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The cyberattack is expected to lead to an “increase in routine waiting lists” as the HSE focuses on urgent and time sensitive cases “in the interests of patient safety”, a Department of Health spokesperson has told the Medical Independent. The Department’s scheduled and unscheduled care performance unit (SUCPU) is working with the HSE and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) in implementing plans to improve access to elective care and reduce waiting times.
These plans include “increased use of private hospitals, funding weekend and evening work in public hospitals, funding see-and-treat services where minor procedures are provided at the same time as outpatient consultations, providing virtual clinics and increasing capacity in the public hospital system”.
In May, the IHCA criticised the performance of the SUCPU as figures showed over 880,000 people were “now on some form of NTPF waiting list”.
“By any standards this is a very disappointing performance,” commented IHCA President Prof Alan Irvine. He said the SUCPU “should be an imaginative solution-focussed hub and incubator for new ideas.”
“This requires shared leadership and collaborative engagement with hospital consultants who provide the medical and surgical care and their representatives to ensure an improved public hospital service for the Irish people.”
See news feature, p14.