A total of 4,334 of public patients from Waterford have now benefited from faster treatment through the work of the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). To the end of September, 120,000 public patients throughout the country had their treatment arranged by the Fund.

The operations arranged covered a wide range of specialties and procedures, including the treatment of cataracts, knee and hip replacements, MRI scans, removal of tonsils, heart surgery, spinal operations, hernia repairs and varicose veins removals.

Established in 2002 as part of the Health Strategy and Programme for Government, the NTPF arranges treatment for those public patients who have been waiting longest for surgery. Treatment is free of charge, with procedures carried out in private hospitals in Ireland. According to the fund managers, public patients should be informed that the NTPF is there to reduce the time they need to wait for their surgery.

“The Fund has made considerable progress in reducing the waiting times of public patients awaiting surgery in Waterford and elsewhere throughout the country. Many of these patients could still be waiting if the option of the Fund was still not available”, said chief executive, Pat O’Byrne.

Mr O’Byrne pointed out that patients could contact the National Treatment Purchase Fund through its lo-call number 1890 720 820.

They could also inform the hospital where they were waiting that they wished to be referred under the NTPF scheme.