Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher says that it is absolutely appalling that more than half a million people are now waiting for an outpatient appointment.
“138,584 of these patients spent all of 2017 waiting unsuccessfully for an outpatient consultation. And half of these have actually being waiting since the middle of 2016.
“We should remember too that Leo Varadkar, when he was Minister for Health, promised that no-one would be waiting more than 18 months by the middle of 2015. Delivery on that commitment for the thousands of people waiting to see a hospital doctor seems further away than ever.
“It is also bitterly disappointing that after four months of modest improvements, the numbers waiting on the inpatient day case list have edged upwards again.
“Minister Harris has clearly taken his eye off the ball as he attempts, and fails, to grapple with Emergency Department trolley crisis.
“Sadly the chaos we have seen in our Emergency Departments so far in 2017 means that we are likely to see a further increase as we enter into 2018.
“It is critical that the Minister for Health publishes the bed capacity review as soon as possible and bring forward a costed plan for its swift implementation. Figures such as those published today underline the urgency of this,” concluded Kelleher.