Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher TD says Minister Varadkar needs to urgently tackle hospital waiting lists as the scale of the crisis across the country continues to spiral.

The number of people waiting more than 8 months for in-patient or day-case hospital treatment has soared from 1,764 in January to 8,692 in August of this year. The latest figures contained in the latest HSE performance report also reveal that there were 41,604 patients waiting over a year for an outpatient appointment, up from 9,604 in January, an increase of 333%.

Deputy Kelleher commented, “I am appalled at the attitude of the Minister for Health, who admits that the figures released today are of great concern, but who has no plans to do anything to address the problem.  In fact, he has resigned himself to the fact that the numbers are likely to get worse over the next few months before they get better.  He is effectively condemning thousands of patients to extended hospital waiting times, without putting any plan in place to remedy the crisis.

“No doubt the Minister is hoping to get plaudits for his frank speaking on the issue but those plaudits will be of scant consolation to those waiting ever longer for an appointment.

“Minister Varadkar’s comments come following a pointed attack on health sector unions, whereby he claimed that they didn’t want him to succeed, however, while he continues to abide by this year’s flawed HSE Service Plan it’s not clear that the Minister wants to succeed either.

“€200m was cut from hospital budgets this year, a decision which will see services reduced further. This flawed Service Plan is compromising hospital services and undermining patient safety.”