Kelleher Calls on Varadkar to Clarify if Waiting Lists are Manipulated

Published on: 05 October 2014

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher TD, has called on the Minister for Health to clarify if the HSE is manipulating waiting lists to meet health service targets.

Reports in today’s Sunday Business Post says an internal HSE document urged employees to manipulate waiting lists in order to meet targets Deputy Kelleher said this is disgraceful and dishonest.

He commented: “I am calling on the Minister for Health to clarify if the internal HSE document, leaked to the Sunday Business Post today, is putting pressure on staff to manipulate waiting lists so targets can be reached. If this is the case it is a shocking indictment of the management of the HSE and the unrealistic targets it was set by government.

“This also raises a number of questions, was Minister Varadkar made aware of this practice? If not, why wasn’t he?  How widespread is this practice throughout the HSE? It points to a serious dysfunction and dishonest practices within the HSE. Did the Department know about this memo? This memo should be published and should be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday.

“It is deeply worrying to read that patients on waiting lists were sent to private consultants who could not treat them properly, the patients were subsequently put back on a new waiting list at the bottom of the queue. At the very least this is putting patients’ safety at risk and may prolong the diagnosis and treatment of serious illnesses, at worst it is putting patients’ lives at risk. 

“With staff morale in our health system at an all-time low, this latest revelation will only add to the disillusionment of front-line staff that have been forced to work in extremely pressurised environments. Minister Varadkar must move fast to clarify this and take immediate steps to rectify the seemingly dishonest and disgraceful practice and ascertain just how widespread it is.”

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