“The latest hospital waiting lists from the National Treatment Purchase Fund show the outpatient waiting list is continuing its relentless upward surge” says Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly TD.

“Every month so far in 2019 we have seen the outpatient waiting lists hit a record high. In July it rose to 564,829 and now it’s gone up to 569,498 during August.

“The outpatient waiting list is now up by more than 10 per cent this year so Minister Harris has failed in his very unambitious goal for 2019 of ‘stabilising’ it.

“In 2015, then Health Minister Leo Varadkar promised that Fine Gael would bring to zero the number of men, women and children waiting over a year and a half for an outpatient appointment by the end of June that year.

“When Minister Harris took office in 2016 the number stood at over 13,000. Today, in spite of the health budget growing by an unprecedented €3.5bn, the number is now more than 106,000 men, women and children. So, for every one person waiting when Minister Harris took office, there are now seven people waiting over a year and a half.

“The additional numbers represent Croke Park filled to capacity, plus another 10,000 men women and children on the pitch. What this means is that men, women and children are waiting, suffering, getting sicker and in some cases dying while they wait for an appointment and treatment.

“This is the longest waiting list in the history of the state and represents the complete and utter failure of Fine Gael on healthcare”, he concluded.