An additional £18.3m will be spent on cutting Isle of Man hospital waiting lists after Tynwald approved the move.

The money will be used to bring forward treatment in orthopaedics, general surgery and ophthalmology.

Health Minister Rob Callister said the wait for procedures had “unfortunately grown to beyond what we would consider safe”.

Updates on the progress of the initiative must be published every quarter until the money runs out.

Manx Care was previously given more money to address backlogs in knee and hip, endoscopy, cataract procedures.

This additional funding will be used to pay private healthcare firm Synaptik to provide private clinicians to work at Noble’s Hospital.

Under the plans, the wait for orthopaedics would reduce from 46 weeks to four, general surgery from 43 weeks to three, and ophthalmology from 58 to 18.

As part of its Mandate from the health department, Manx Care is required to get waiting times down to a target of an 18-week referral to treatment time.

Mr Callister told Tynwald some patients “had to wait far too long for appointments”, which was “seriously affecting their quality of life”.

While the plan was unanimously backed by politicians, some raised concerns over Manx Care’s ability to keep waiting lists down after the money ran out.

Former Health Minister David Ashford successfully moved an amendment calling for quarterly updates on where the money had been spent and the progress made in reducing waiting times.

Juan Watterson SHK said there had been “massive rises in health care expenditure” since Manx Care was established last year but the service remained “understaffed and still underperforming”.

But Mr Callister argued the additional funding was a “targeted response to address serious concerns around the island’s waiting lists” and not an overspend.

Source: bbc.co.uk