Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has said the latest figures from the HSE prove the reform agenda being pursued by the Minister for Health is failing to deliver for patients on the ground.
Deputy Kelleher was reacting to news that over 105,000 patients are waiting over a year for their first consultant out-patient appointment. He commented: “The simple fact of that matter is that after failing to manage his budget, control costs and instigate genuine reform that health service has stalled under Minister Reilly. After dismantling the National Treatment Purchase Fund to establish his pet project in the form of the Special Delivery Unit the SDU has disproportionately prioritised generating good PR for the Minister in A&E figures at the expense of substantially reducing long-term waiting lists.
“I think people will be genuinely shocked to hear the waiting figures from across the country; over 41,000 in Galway, 28,000 in Waterford, 22,000 in Beaumont, 26,000 in Tallaght, almost 23,000 in Cork and the same in Limerick Regional Hospital. This should be a priority area for the Minister. It’s a sad fact that as a result of the attention these figures will now get in the media that now the issue will get some direct attention.
“I fully appreciate that hospitals need to update their waiting lists and not all people currently on a list are still in need of medical attention but these figures remain staggering. The concern patients will have upon hearing this news will not be helped by the ongoing cancellation of elective surgeries to cut costs, alongside more and more bed closures.
“Minister Reilly’s dysfunctional reform agenda has completely zapped the health service of morale. His over emphasis on spin and the need to generate positive headlines is leading the public to believe the health service is actually improving, until of course they find they need to avail of frontline services and are met with a totally different reality.
“The Minister needs to focus on delivery and real reform of service delivery while protecting frontline care across the country,” concluded Deputy Kelleher.