Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Primary and Community Care, John Brassil has said that Kerry people in desperate need of cataract surgery are being ignored by the Government and the HSE.

Deputy Brassil was commenting after receiving new figures from the HSE on the number of people in Kerry waiting for ophthalmological treatment and for outpatient appointments.

“There are 548 children and 466 adults waiting for some form of ophthalmological treatment and as many waiting for an outpatient appointment.

“Those on an outpatient appointment are sometimes waiting well in excess of two years before they even get to see a consultant. They will then have to wait up to a year or even longer to get treatment.

“Peoples’ quality of life is being hampered by being forced to wait so long for treatment. Older people are being trapped in their homes as they wait for treatment.

“Fianna Fáil forced the Fine Gael government to restart the National Treatment Purchase Fund but I get a sense that Fine Gael is resisting ramping it up to a level that would deal meaningfully with the large number of Kerry people waiting for treatment.

“The Government has a preference for launching Action Plans on this, that and the other, but where is the Action Plan on Outpatient Waiting Times? It’s neither right nor proper that our citizens have to wait longer than two years just to see a hospital consultant.

“Consideration needs to be given to using private hospital consultants in hospitals such as the Bons Secours in Tralee to make progress on outpatient hospital waiting lists.

“There are two in Irish politics who have an ideological hostility towards using private hospitals to deal with backlogs in the public health system. I don’t. My priority as a local TD is to ensure that no one in our county has to wait for an appointment or treatment,” concluded Brassil.