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Unpublished major review reveals flaws in waiting list reporting

A major report has found Ireland compares poorly internationally on publication of waiting list data, the Medical Independent (MI) understands.  Following the RTÉ Investigates documentary ‘Living on the List’, which found flaws in waiting list data, the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) commissioned Trinity College Dublin to review international best practice for reporting of waiting lists and to produce a report outlining the findings. MI understands that the report, which was submitted to the Department of Health in May, states Ireland falls far behind other countries in terms of waiting list data and reporting.

The lack of ‘waiting time’ data was noted in the report, in addition to the absence of targets to drive down waiting lists in the Irish health system.

Substantial investment in IT is necessary to improve waiting list reporting, according to the report.

A Department spokesperson said the study will form “an important element of a more strategic and integrated approach to waiting list data management in general”.

Since the RTÉ investigation aired in February 2017, a number of initiatives have taken place to improve the management and reporting of waiting lists.

In the immediate aftermath of the programme, the NTPF carried out a series of special audits.

At the time, it was considered by the Department that the findings of those audits were indicative of potential waiting list management issues across the entire public acute hospital system. The Department requested the NTPF to extend the audit programme to cover other public acute hospitals in 2018.

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