Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher TD says hospital waiting lists are continuing to reach new highs following the publication of the latest figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

81,103 patients were waiting for treatment in November compared to 47,654 for the same month in 2013.

“The number of people stuck on waiting lists continues to rise and that is a great cause for concern. The only consolation is the fall in the number of people on long term waiting lists. It’s important to note that a target was put in place in June 2015 to have no one waiting more than 18 months for treatment. This is not being achieved and is a far cry from the previous target time of 8 months prior to 2015.

“The number of outpatients waiting more than 18 months rose again from 26,796 in October to 29,478 last month. 84,746 people are waiting over a year just for a consultation. It’s simply not good enough.

“The truth is that the number on our waiting lists is likely to keep increasing. Just last week the Director General of the HSE spoke of the 5% – 6% year-on-year increase in the presentations to our Emergency Departments. This is having a massive impact on our hospitals, particularly when it comes to the lack of bed capacity and the associated knock on effect on elective surgeries.

“If this trend continues then all surgeries will be emergency work and hospitals will be unab