22/03/2019

Specialist Day Surgeries To Cut Waiting Lists

The Department of Health is accelerating plans to introduce specialist day surgeries to reduce patient waiting lists, with a public consultation expected before the end of 2019.

It comes after elective care centres for cataract and varicose vein procedures became operational in December 2018.

The long-term strategy for cutting waiting times is now due to be rolled out across a wide range of specialties, meaning the provision of thousands of routine operations will de transferred to dedicated sites.

The specialities involved are General Surgery, Endoscopy, Urology, Gynaecology, Orthopaedics, ENT, Paediatrics and Neurology.

By December 2020, the Department aims to transfer more than 100,000 day cases, 25,000 endoscopies and 8,000 paediatric procedures to the new model.
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Newly established groups will take plans forward in each speciality, including identifying preferred sites for the centres. This work will help inform a regional model for day case surgery across Northern Ireland.

DoH Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly said: "Dedicated elective care centres are a priority and a key part of tackling hospital waiting times. All too often at present, routine surgery has to be postponed because hospital theatres are needed for urgent and emergency cases.

"By creating day surgery hubs on standalone sites away from 24 hour Emergency Departments, we can make our system more productive for the benefit of patients.

"A key issue will be the location of the centres. This will inevitably mean that some people will have to travel a bit further for their day surgery, but we will achieve significant and sustainable reductions in the waiting times for the procedures. Previous work suggests service users accept this trade off."

The planning groups for each of the specialities will include clinicians and representatives from HSC organisations. Evaluations from the prototype cataract and varicose vein centres will help inform the work.



(JG/CM)


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