Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Lisa Chambers says the number of people waiting more than one year for outpatient appointments at Mayo University Hospital is simply unsustainable.  New figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund reveal that there were 2,281 people waiting over 12 months for an outpatient appointment at the hospital at the end of April.

Deputy Chambers commented, “The huge increase in the waiting list for outpatient appointments is truly shocking and further demonstrates the Health Minister’s complete failure to get to grips with the situation.  In the past month alone, the number of people waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment rose by 116, to bring the total number of people to 2,281. This is an 85% increase on the same time last year.

“The fact that these figures are continuing to move in the wrong direction is extremely worrying and points to deeper issues that the Minister appears unable to resolve.  Over the past six years we have seen cuts to services at Mayo University Hospital, with some specialties transferred to University Hospital Galway, which is already buckling under the pressure and patients are not getting the care they need.

“Fianna Fáil pushed for the re-establishment of the National Treatment Purchase Fund to tackle this very issue but there has been a series of delays and now we are seeing waiting lists spiralling.  Patients and their families are becoming increasingly anxious and frustrated with the situation.  A year is a long time to be waiting for an appointment and in that time there is the potential for all sorts of complications to manifest themselves.  People are becoming sicker, and more complex procedures may be needed to treat their conditions.

“Minister Harris must recognise the seriousness of the situation.  Since 2011 we have seen waiting times rocket and this simply cannot continue.  I am calling on him to address the delays with the NTPF to ensure that there is an effective process in place to deal with these exorbitant waiting times.  This scheme worked successfully in the past and must be prioritised to ensure that waiting times are tackled effectively again”.