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House of Keys Sitting - 6th March 2007 6 March 2007

Written Question 3 | Oral Question 4

The question number refers to the question order specified in the official Keys Question Paper. To read the answers, scroll down this page or select a link to a question from above.

The question number refers to the question order specified in the official Keys Question Paper. To read the answers, scroll down this page or select a link to a question from above.

Question NumberSubjectQuestion from
Written Q3Heating and Lighting at Noble's HospitalMr Henderson, MHK
Oral Q4Ophthalmology - Request for correctionMr Cannan, MHK

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Written Question 3

For Written Answer:The Hon Member for Douglas North (Mr Henderson) to ask the Minister for Health and Social Security –

How much has the total yearly cost been for heating and lighting in the new hospital in each of the years since it has been open?


Mr Speaker,

The energy costs for Nobles Hospital are shown on the table below. Financial years 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 are the only years for which we have annual costs, as the other two years on the table are part years.

The Utility costs are for Electric ( Power & Lighting) & Heating ( Oil & Gas)

Date PeriodYearElectricHeatingTotal
1st July - 31st March2003/04£326,451.24£236,475.67£562,926.91
1st April - 31st March2004/05£585,313.83£388,965.03£974,278.86
1st April - 31st March2005/06£719,168.78£510,900.60£1,230,069.38
1st April – 5th February2006/07£717,491.53£407,529.60£1,125,021.13

Oral Question 4

For Oral Answer:The Hon Member for Michael (Mr Cannan) to ask the Minister for Health and Social Security –

Will you make a statement to this House correcting your answer given at the sitting on 6th February 2007, to the question, “What is the current waiting time for a patient in need of a cataract operation before the patient has the first consultation with the Consultant Ophthalmologist?” and your response which stated inter alia, “the longest waiting patient referred on 24th August 2006 and was seen on 27th January 2007”, when enquiries have shown that in fact the longest waiting patients were referred in May/June/July 2005?


Mr Speaker

Yes and if I could seek your agreement, I will make one now.

I had wanted to make a statement previously but was unable to do so as Mr Cannan had tabled further questions. Timescales to obtain information to answer questions are short which can affect the depth of response given and data on cataracts is not recorded separately to other ophthalmic procedures.

Hon. Members will recall that in this House on 6 February 2007, I replied to a Question on Ophthalmology services asked by the Honourable Member for Michael – Mr Cannan.

In light of the supplementary comments and questions raised by Mr Cannan after hearing my reply, I have now revisited the information provided to me by the Department, and in seeking clarification of some points, have concluded that I may have inadvertently misled the Hon. Member and this House.

The Hon. Member asked what the current waiting time was for cataract operations. My response should have clearly indicated that we cannot isolate those waiting for cataracts from those waiting for other ophthalmic procedures, and thus I could not give a definitive answer to the question. The information I quoted was gathered by manually examining recent clinics to discover the longest wait for treatment.

In my response I therefore quoted the findings of that manual examination of recent Ophthalmology clinics which indicated that the longest waiting patient had been referred to the Service on 24 August 2006, and was being seen on 23 January 2007. The Hon. Member for Michael then gave me an example of one his constituents who appeared to have been waiting longer than this – subsequent enquiries have indicated that the referral for his constituent appears to have been received at Noble’s Hospital on 9 October 2006, and I understand that the patient has now been given an appointment for 13 March 2007. The Hon. Member suggested that his constituent had been waiting since a date in 2005. This is not consistent with the referral record held at Noble’s Hospital and further enquiries are being made with the referring GP. I apologise that my initial response may have given the impression that waiting times for cataract operations are shorter than they actually are.

As this House is aware, both my predecessor and myself are very concerned about the waiting lists in some specialties, including Ophthalmology. This is despite numerous waiting list initiatives over the last few years and reflects the fact that the demand for new patient consultations exceeds the number of appointments available. The Department is not however complacent, and hospital staff are actively considering ways to make more appointments available, as well as considering other innovative ways to make resources available for additional operations to be undertaken.

I would expect these measures would improve the situation so that within the next few months we will see waiting times reducing.

Mr Speaker, with hindsight, perhaps I should have declined to answer the question until there was adequate time to obtain more comprehensive and reliable data.

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