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The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, TD made an announcement today that hospitals will be obliged to ensure that no patient is waiting on treatment for longer than 12 months.

This announcement, which comes as part of the Government’s health reform agenda, will follow on from the recent establishment of the Special Delivery Unit (SDU). All resources from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) will now be transferred to support the SDU.

It has been said that the NTPF, while it will continue to fund patient treatments, will be shifting its focus to target waiting lists more strategically, to deliver more treatments for the funds provided and to ensure that hospitals manage their lists proactively in the interests of patients.

Other changes announced today will require the NTPF to target particular backlogs rather than routinely accept referrals of patients waiting over three months. The requirement that the NTPF purchase 90% of treatments in the private sector is also being ended.