The GHA has announced that it will conduct a post-COVID internal review of waiting times for services at St Bernard’s Hospital.

The review seeks to assess and understand the impact of the pandemic on waiting times across GHA services with the aim of improving these as far as reasonably possible. The review is part of the wider Reset, Restart, Recover strategy for the GHA’s post-pandemic reform.

Under the auspices of the Director General, the GHA administrative leadership will liaise closely with the clinical directors and clinical leads of each specialty to determine the impact of the pandemic on their waiting lists. In a statement, the GHA said that these can be expected to rise in the short term, as they are globally, whilst backlogs are cleared and more patients come forward.

In conjunction with clinical teams, the GHA will use this data to understand what needs to be done in the immediate, short and long term in order to reduce waiting times further. As part of this, the GHA is keen to develop and promote the use of digital technology across the GHA so that both clinicians and administrators have easy access and readily available information regarding waiting times across the service. The GHA states it is confident, following the direction established by the Director General, to work side-by-side with clinicians and patients, and that wait times can be reduced further to rival those of any health service worldwide. The GHA will publish the findings from the review and update waiting times as they become available on the GHA website.

'As always, the GHA’s priority is to ensure that urgent and emergency cases are seen to as quickly as possible, and this philosophy was upheld throughout the pandemic. The GHA has, for example, sent an invitation to local dental services to quote for routine examination of children in order to help clear the backlog of those waiting for an appointment.'

The Director General welcomes the discussion of waiting times across the GHA during his routine community meetings in order to further inform the GHA’s understanding of the complex and multi layered issues that affect, and are affected by, waiting times.

The Director General, Patrick Geoghegan, said: ‘I am pleased to announce the internal review of waiting times for GHA services, the findings of which will be made public in due course. The GHA is at the beginning of how the new administration wants to work moving forward. There are, unfortunately, no quick fixes and this will be part of a longer-term review across all GHA services. However, I am confident that by working smarter, and in collaboration with clinical teams and with patients, we can overcome the challenges and bring waiting times at the GHA down to rival those of any other health service around the world.

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