Fianna Fáil TD for Limerick, Willie O’Dea, says the lack of leadership and direction from the Minister for Health has contributed to 5,600 patients in Limerick waiting over four years or more for outpatient appointments.
Deputy O’Dea was reacting to figures released yesterday which also reveal that nearly 7,500 people in the HSE West region are waiting for an outpatient appointment.
“These figures are a shocking indictment of the gross mismanagement of the Health Service by Minister James Reilly. Limerick and the Mid West Region again seem to be bearing the greatest brunt of this mismanagement. In fact, the numbers waiting more than four years for an outpatient appointment in the HSE West is more than four times the rest of the country combined.
“Over 4,000 people are waiting more than four years for an outpatient appointment at the Mid-West Regional Orthopaedic Hospital in Croom while almost 1,500 people are waiting at the Mid-West Regional Hospital in Dooradoyle. Croom alone makes up for half the HSE West figure.
“Orthopaedic patients usually have to deal with the most painful ailments and to be waiting over four years is shocking.
“Upon assuming office, Minister Reilly’s reform agenda included dismantling the National Treatment Purchase Fund to establish the Special Delivery Unit, which has disproportionately prioritised generating good PR for the Minister in A&E figures at the expense of substantially reducing long-term waiting lists.
“Hospitals do need to update their waiting lists and not all people currently on a list are still in need of medical attention but these figures remain staggering. The concern patients will have upon hearing this news will not be helped by the on-going cancellation of elective surgeries to cut costs, alongside more and more bed closures.
“Morale in the Health Service is at an all-time low and efforts to tackle these waiting lists will be extremely difficult unless the real reform promised by the Minister is delivered. Sadly, with his track record on broken promises this will be another example of Government spin with little or no substance.”