Almost 3,800 patients waiting for operations could have their treatment sooner if Tynwald approves £18.3 million to reduce waiting lists, one of the priorities the Government set out in the Island Plan.
Lawrie Hooper MHK, the Minister for Health and Social Care, will ask Tynwald to support the spending when it meets next month.
The funding would be ring-fenced so it could only be used to reduce hospital waiting lists, sitting separately from Manx Care’s annual budget.
The money would enable Manx Care to continue its partnership with specialist healthcare provider Synaptik. It provides clinicians to work alongside existing teams at Noble’s Hospital to supplement the existing capacity there so that more patients can receive treatment in a shorter space of time with a reduced length of stay in hospital.
The additional capacity will be used to reduce the three largest waiting lists with around 760 orthopaedic patients, 930 general surgery patients and 2,090 ophthalmology patients having their operations sooner, covering procedures such as hip replacements and cataract removal.
Manx Care successfully cleared the waiting list for endoscopies earlier this year following additional funding from the Government, and worked with Synaptik to deliver 115 hip and knee operations and 350 cataract removals.
It was the start of a programme of work announced last year by Manx Care to reduce a number of hospital waiting lists, which had grown significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when elective surgery and a number of clinics had to be suspended.
The Government tasked Manx Care to continue its efforts to reduce waiting lists as part of its mandate for 2022/23, with Manx Care giving a commitment to do so in its Required Outcome Framework for 2022/23.
Minister Hooper said:
‘I understand how frustrating and difficult long waiting times can be for both patients and their loved ones and the impact it has on people’s quality of life. That is why the Government is determined to reduce healthcare waiting times.
‘Manx Care has made a solid start in its efforts to reduce hospital waits, but it is clear that more support is needed to help achieve this. This funding will clear significant backlogs – made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic – and make future waiting times much more reasonable.’
Teresa Cope, CEO of Manx Care, commented:
‘Reducing waiting lists continues to be a key focus for Manx Care. This significant investment – if approved – would allow us to continue our work to address the backlog of elective surgery at pace.
‘This means we could prevent patients from having to wait any longer than they have already for surgeries that are needed to improve their quality of life. It would also bring the inpatient and day case waiting lists down to acceptable levels for Manx Care to manage sustainably moving forward.’