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The validation process for hospital waiting lists is to be reformed as part of plans to introduce fairer procedures for patients, the NAGP has been informed.
The move comes following widespread criticism from GPs regarding the HSE validation processes for individuals awaiting hospital appointments, with many patients reporting being struck-off waiting lists without receiving any notice.
Following a recent meeting with the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), NAGP President Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail confirmed that the process was being “reformed with significant improvement to the current system”.
The new process will see patients receiving a validation letter with a 14-day reply period. Failure to reply will result in another letter being issued, with a further 14-day reply deadline.
“If patients fail to reply to the validation letter, the hospital must then check the patients’ contact details to ensure they are correct,” Dr Ó Tuathail informed NAGP members in recent correspondence.
“Following this, the patient’s referral letter must be reviewed by the doctor to whom the referral was made prior to being removed from the list.
“GPs will then be informed that their patient has been removed from the list. Should the GP re-refer the patient, the patient will be reinstated to the place on the list they previously held.”
Waiting lists will not be validated during the month of December and patients referred for cancer care will be excluded from validation processes.
“In the cases of difficulties establishing a patient’s address, such as patients of no fixed abode, or those who have changed address, the hospital will be required to follow up to see if an address can be established for the patient and this may involve a call to the referring GP’s secretarial staff in certain circumstances,” according to Dr Ó Tuathail.
The NAGP is to meet the NTPF every three months to review the process.