Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Stephen Donnelly has welcomed the €20 million increase in the National Treatment Purchase Fund in Budget 2019. This is the third successive increase secured by Fianna Fáil under the Confidence and Supply arrangement.
Deputy Donnelly explained, “Fine Gael has presided over the highest waiting lists ever witnessed in this country. In 2016, following a 38% increase in inpatient/day case waiting lists under the tenure of then Health Minister Leo Varadkar, Fianna Fáil secured the reactivation of the National Treatment Purchase Fund in the Confidence and Supply Arrangement. The measure announced today brings to €70m of increased spending in the Fund since then.
“We sought the restoration of the Fund in 2016 as we were convinced that it could have a substantial impact in reducing the inpatient/day case waiting lists. While it took some time for this to happen, we have seen a 14% reduction in the numbers waiting for surgery in the past 15 months.
“While I welcome the additional funding allocated today, I would like to have seen the Fund increase to €100m.
“At its previous peak, funding of €90m saw the average waiting time for elective treatment in 2010 reduced to just 2.6 months by the then Fianna Fáil government. There were just 781 patients waiting in excess of twelve months for surgery, compared to 13,128 in 2018. The 40% increase is a significant achievement but I was hoping for more.
“It’s important now that this funding be put to good use and that we see further reductions in waiting lists.”