The average waiting time for all specialties at the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar is now 1.9 months.
Waiting times for the Mullingar hospital are even shorter than the national average waiting time, which at 2.6 months is the lowest it has ever been.
The progress was announced by Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, as she launched the latest annual report from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF ).
The NTPF arranged faster treatment for 36,269 public patients in 2008, contributing to a fall in the national average waiting time for all specialties to 2.6 months.
Launching the Fund’s 2008 Annual Report, Minister Harney said, “I am pleased with the progress the NTPF made in 2008, as it continued its important work of reducing waiting times for patients.
“The median average wait time for any procedure in the public hospital system is now 2.6 months - the lowest it has ever been. This compares to waiting times of between two and five years in 2002, the year the fund was established.”
The NTPF arranged treatment for a total of 20,829 public in-patients in 2008 across a wide range of specialities, with the most common procedures including ophthalmology, general surgery, and ENT. Some 3,098 MRI consultations were also provided, an increase of 35 per cent on 2007.
The Fund’s 2008 Out-patient Pilot Programme saw it make considerable progress in reducing out-patient waiting times around the country, with 12,342 first-time consultations arranged across 14 specialties.
The Fund’s Lo-Call number (1890 720 820 ) received 26,565 enquires. This represents an increase of 36 per cent on the previous year, highlighting the ever-increasing public awareness of the option of treatment via the NTPF. Some 99 per cent of patients treated by the fund expressed satisfaction with the service when surveyed.
The NTPF will continue its work arranging treatment for the country’s longest waiting patients in 2009, with plans to provide faster treatment for approximately 30,000 patients.