Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow – Kilkenny Bobby Aylward has said a new Government strategy is needed to deal with the growing waiting times at Waterford University Hospital. Deputy Aylward made the comments after raising a special Dáil debate on the issue with Minister for Health Leo Varadkar.

Deputy Aylward commented, “I have obtained figures which show that waiting times for both in-patient and out-patient services at Waterford University Hospital have soared over the last year. In May 2015 more than 26,500 people were waiting for an outpatient appointment. Over 10,800 people have also been waiting to see a consultant for over a year, which represents a staggering 250% increase in the 12 months preceding May 2015.

“The latest figures available also show that 41% of those awaiting an outpatient appointment at Waterford have been waiting more than a year, which is twice the national average of 20.5%. Waterford also has the worst figures in the entire country for the number of people waiting more than two years for an appointment. The figures for inpatient services are even more disastrous. Nationally the waiting list has increased by 39% over two years whereas in Waterford the increase has been over 160%.

“People across south Kilkenny are reliant on the services offered at Waterford University Hospital. They recognise that Waterford hospital has been abandoned by the current Government. Minister Varadkar, and his predecessor Minister Reilly, have allowed waiting times to spiral out of control at the hospital. The staff are over stretched and under resourced and cannot deal with the increase in demand.

“I raised this matter with Minister Varadkar in the Dáil this week. Unfortunately he would not make any meaningful commitment to resolving the growing waiting times for services at Waterford University Hospital. This is something that I will continue to pursue with the Minister until Waterford gets the resources it deserves.

“After four years of false budgets, bogus targets and bad Ministerial management it’s clear that this Government’s health policy has been nothing short of disaster for Waterford University Hospital and we need a new direction for the health service in Ireland that puts patients and services first” said Deputy Aylward.