The HSE has yet to implement a single HIQA report designed to reduce the number of unnecessary referrals to hospital and cut waiting lists. Waiting lists for outpatient appointments have exceeded 400,000 people for the first time.
During 2013 and 2014 HIQA published 22 Health Technology Assessments with recommendations – which if implemented – would help reduce hospital waiting lists significantly. These reports have been sitting on the Minister’s desk without any response, any action, or any implementation.
The HSE asked HIQA to recommend referral criteria and treatment thresholds based on international evidence and best practice. In response to this request HIQA undertook 22 separate Health Technology Assessments. A Health Technology Assessment is a multi-disciplinary approach used to determine how best to make use of limited resources within the health sector. With input from an expert advisory group and a review of international guidelines, international policy and economic evaluations HIQA made a number of recommendations.
Frequently reports commissioned by Government remain unimplemented as the resources to implement them are scarce. In this instance implementation would in fact free up resources and make our healthcare system more efficient. Minister Varadkar must explain why he has failed to implement these reports.
Current data suggest that 30% to 50% of patients referred to surgical outpatients (across all disciplines) do not proceed to surgery and are referred back to primary care. Reducing the rate of referral of patients who do not proceed to surgery would release capacity and resources at the tertiary care level, so that the patients with greater clinical need get speedier access to outpatient review and surgery, without causing harm or reducing benefit.
For a full list of the 22 HIQA reports please see: