Minister for Health launches €350 million 2022 Waiting List Action Plan

Published on: 25 February 2022

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, today launched the 2022 Waiting List Action Plan, the first year of a multi-annual reform programme to stabilise and reduce waiting lists and waiting times for elective care in Ireland, bringing about significant and lasting change in waiting list numbers

Projections for 2022 show that over 1.5 million patients will be added to active waiting lists this year. A lot of people very understandably stayed away from the health service during the pandemic and did not come forward for the care they needed. Others were unable to access non-urgent care. As these people come forward it will place huge additional demand on our health service.  

This Plan details how the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) intend to ensure that an even higher number, 1.7 million, are treated and removed from waiting lists. This will bring our waiting list figures to the lowest number in the past five years.  

This ambitious Plan identifies 45 actions as part of a comprehensive twin-track approach of investment to reduce and reform waiting lists. Targeted investment aims to get many more people treated as quickly as possible. At the same time, reforming and investing in our public health service will eradicate the gap between demand and permanent capacity by addressing long-term reforms like improving patient pathways of care, enhancing data collection and information sharing, and revising waiting-list management protocols.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Donnelly said: “I am delighted to launch the 2022 Waiting list Action Plan, an ambitious, comprehensive, and targeted approach to significantly reduce waiting lists and waiting times. We know, the number of people on waiting lists was already too high before the pandemic and now, following months of disruption to services, there are over 730,000 waiting for care in Ireland. 

“This Plan allocates €350 million to the HSE and NTPF to reduce waiting lists by 18 percent this year which will bring the number of people waiting to their lowest point in five years. 

While this Plan focuses on significant numbers and targets, it is fundamentally about ensuring people receive the right care in the right place, at the right time - reforming our health service through the fundamental principles of Sláintecare.”

There will be a particular focus on 15 high volume inpatient day case procedures so that every person waiting for over 6 months who is clinically ready will receive an offer of treatment. These are:

·        Cataracts

·        Cystoscopies

·        Hip replacements

·        Knee replacements

·        Skin lesions (General Surgery and Plastic Surgery)

·        Varicose Veins 

·        Angiograms

·        Tonsillectomies

·        Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

·        Septoplasties

·        Dental

·        Hysteroscopy

·        Laparoscopy (Gynaecology)

·        Total abdominal Hysterectomy

·        Inguinal Hernia Repair


The 2022 Waiting List Action Plan builds on the success of the short-term Waiting List Action Plan that ran from September to December last year and delivered a 5 percent reduction in waiting lists, during that time period, equating to 40,000 additional people no longer on waiting lists.