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The documentary told the story of people who have been waiting months and years for hospital treatment and revealed how some patients were put on unpublished waiting lists under the categories of ‘pre-admit’ and ‘planned procedures’.
A letter from Principal Officer at the Department of Health Ms Marita Kinsella to NTPF Acting CEO Mr Jim O’Sullivan on 23 February, seen by MI , stated that the Department wanted the Fund to assist in delivering commitments made by Minister for Health Simon Harris following the airing of the documentary.
Firstly, Minister Harris requested that the NTPF audit the practices in hospitals and the individual cases featured in the programme with the aim of improving “their communications with patients and work towards full compliance with relevant national protocols”.
Ms Kinsella also wrote: “Secondly, in order to provide greater and more transparent access to waiting list figures that are currently available, the Minister for Health requests that the NTPF work towards the publication of pre-admit and planned procedures waiting lists and advise on appropriate format for publication for these two different categories of patients.”
Finally, the letter referred to how the Minister supports a move towards greater integration of hospital waiting list management systems.
“Therefore, he requests that the NTPF establish and lead a project team of relevant experts and stakeholders to examine the feasibility of progressing to a more integrated waiting list management at Hospital Group level and to receive a report on this project by the end of August,” stated Ms Kinsella.
The Living on the List documentary has led to significant media coverage and debate since it was broadcast on Monday, 6 February.