Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has expressed his concern at the further increase in hospital waiting lists revealed in the latest HSE Performance Report for February 2014.

“The number of patients waiting for more than 8 months for in-patient/day case treatment has almost doubled in the month from 1,764 to 3,490. Overall, in-patient/day case waiting lists have increased from 43,015 to 44,819 in the month,” explained Deputy Kelleher.

“There has also been a jump in outpatient waiting times with 13,438 waiting more than a year for an appointment. That’s up from 9,604 in January and up from 4,937 in December. I would be alarmed if this trend continues.”

Deputy Kelleher also repeated his concerns about the ongoing delays in the publication of hospital waiting times.

“It is now taking far too long for these monthly figures to be published. Up until late last year, the National Treatment Purchase Fund published monthly figures a few weeks into the following month. We are now waiting months for the information to come to light,” said Deputy Kelleher.

“We should have had this information in March but Minister Reilly has prevented the National Treatment Purchase Fund from publishing it until the HSE publishes its monthly report. So far this year, that has led to three month delays.

“It is wrong that Minister Reilly has stopped information being released in a timely manner. The fact is that if the waiting times show an improvement, the Minister has no problem immediately putting out a press release giving a brief national overview. If the waiting lists deteriorate, we are waiting for months to get the news.”