Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher TD has responded to the publication of the European Health Consumer Index , which has seen Ireland drop eight places to number 22 of 36 in the rankings.

The report is damning, finding that official waiting list data have lost all credibility with patients.

Deputy Kelleher commented, “This report is deeply disappointing, marking a serious reverse in patient confidence and comes following a series of crises in our health system, with hospital chiefs issuing public warnings about safety in their hospitals and the numbers of patients waiting on trolleys beating all records.

“The Report will talk about the collapse of public confidence in official waiting list figures. This should serve as a wake-up call to the Government which has been tinkering waiting list figures in a completely unacceptable way.

“Following their failure to make any positive impact, the Government’s response has been extraordinary – when they can’t meet the target, they simply move the target.  Hence, Leo Varadkar changes the target for inpatient or day case procedure from 8 months, to 18 months.

“The public can see through this sort of cynical manipulation and they reject it. This collapse in confidence, confirmed by Ireland’s collapse in these rankings, is a dangerous development.  The only appropriate response from Minister Varadkar is that he worry less about the presentation of what is happening in our health system and worry a bit more about the reality of patients’ experience of our health system “.