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NTPF resumes attempts to tackle waiting lists

16 Jan 2017

The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) is being allocated €20 million in 2017 under Budget 2017 for the treatment of the longest-waiting patients, rising to €55m in 2018.

The HSE has reportedly been forced to abandon its promise to have no public patient on a waiting list for more than 15 months for surgery in 2017 after waiting lists reached record levels, shifting the target to no longer than 18 months under the HSE National Service Plan for 2017.

At last month’s (December 2016) launch of the NSP 2017, the Minister for Health Simon Harris said he recently granted approval to the NTPF for the first tranche of funding in the region of €5m, for an initiative focusing on day-case procedures.

“The NTPF anticipates that 2,500 of the longest waiting day-case patients will be treated under this initiative with the aim that no patient would be waiting over 18 months for a day-case procedure by June of next year.”

A spokesperson for Hawkins House told Irish Medical Times: “Planning for the remaining €10m is due to be finalised early in the New Year. At the Minister’s request, the Department of Health has written to the HSE to ask them to develop a Waiting List Action Plan for 2017 working collaboratively with the NTPF to address inpatient, day-case and outpatient waiting times.”

Meanwhile, the NTPF has received formal approval from the Department of Health and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to recruit a substantive full-time CEO, to reflect the increased responsibilities of the Fund regarding waiting list outsourcing, IMT has learnt.

Competition to fill the post on a €121,600 annual salary for five-year fixed-term contract, closed Thursday (January 12).

Interim NTPF CEO Jim O’Sullivan, who has been seconded from the HSE, does not occupy the role on a full-time basis, and still has responsibilities in his position as Programme Director for the HSE Director General.

According to NTPF board meeting minutes for September 2016, a proposal had been made for O’Sullivan to take the role on a full-time basis until December 2017 and that the NTPF would communicate on the matter with the HSE.

lloyd.mudiwa@imt.ie

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