Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has described as “truly shocking” the latest outpatient waiting list figures for November 2017.
“To have 134,637 people waiting over a year for an outpatient consultation is just staggering. This is an increase of nearly 50,000 year on year – up from 84,746 in November 2016”, said Deputy Kelleher.
Overall almost 500,000 are now waiting for an outpatient consultation.
“During his time as Health Minister Leo Varadkar promised that by the end of June 2015 no one would wait longer than 18 months on a list. However, at the end of November 2017, 66,640 people are facing waits of more than 18 months.
“It’s clear from these figures that the National Treatment Purchase Fund will have to be extended beyond In Patient/Day Cases and start focusing on Outpatients too. It’s likely too that the 18 month plus category doesn’t give the full picture. For example, this week the Saolta Hospital group admitted that the waiting time for a routine neurology outpatient appointment in Letterkenny Hospital is actually three years.
“The fact that the In Patient Day Case list didn’t increase is some consolation, but the decreases witnessed in the previous three months have not been repeated in November. I hope that the increased funding for the National Treatment Purchase Fund in 2018 will enable some real and sustained progress to be made. We can’t continue with waiting times like these” , concluded Deputy Kelleher.