Figures obtained by Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Stephen Donnelly reveal that there was a total of 190,373 patients waiting for CTs, MRIs and ultrasounds across the country at the end of March this year.

More than one in three of those – 32,751 – have been waiting for over a year.

Deputy Donnelly said, “The high number of people waiting for procedures such as CTs, MRIs and ultrasounds is especially concerning given that they are diagnostic tests and are used to either confirm or rule out a condition. If these tests are being delayed by months and in one in three cases over a year, it could have grave consequences for patient outcomes.

“However, these figures, bad as they are, do not even provide the full picture on diagnostic waiting lists. I also sought information on the numbers waiting on EEG’s, ERCP’s, bone scans and angiograms but Minister Harris says that data is not ‘captured’ at the moment.

“This is despite a government promise back in 2015 that a national collection of standardised and comparable data would be available the following year. It’s now 2020 and we are still missing key information.

“It could well be that if such information was available we would have a diagnostic waiting list of more than 200,000.

“Keep in mind too that these figures are separate from the monthly hospital waiting lists published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

“It’s very likely that these figures will have been worsened by the Coronavirus pandemic as non-COVID healthcare has ground to a halt. It is deeply worrying that the diagnostic waiting lists which were already getting worse will now have deteriorated further.”