Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon says urgent action is needed to address the ongoing waiting list crisis that is affecting patients across the country.  Deputy Scanlon raised the issue during a special Fianna Fáil debate on hospital waiting lists in the Dáil this week.

There are currently 4,702 people on waiting lists for appointments and procedures at Sligo University Hospital, however, this does not include patients from the North West who are on lists for more specialised treatments at other hospitals.

Deputy Scanlon said, “Behind every one of those numbers is a family who are frustrated and anxious about the length of time they or their loved one is having to wait to get a hospital appointment.  Every week I am contacted by family members, worried about their mother, father, husbands and wives who are waiting to be seen by a consultant.

“I was particularly distressed by an email I received from a constituent of mine – a woman whose 72 year old husband is waiting on a heart procedure – a pulmonary vein isolation – in the Mater Hospital in Dublin.  Initially he was told there would be a two-year waiting list but because of the urgency of his case he was told that they would try and see to him within six months.  He has now been told that this will not happen.  She explained to me how difficult and distressing it is for her to have to watch her husband deteriorate before her eyes and said she would be prepared to travel anywhere in Europe to get the procedure done.

“This is a couple who have worked all their lives but who cannot afford private health insurance and are forced to depend on a system that is simply not working.

“Fianna Fáil has consistently called for the reactivation of the National Treatment Purchase Fund to reduce waiting lists – this system worked well in the past and will work again.  We argued for this as part of the Confidence & Supply agreement and the Government has committed funding to its implementation but we need to see real movement on this now.

“Lives are being put in danger unnecessarily. The Government has approved the reinstatement of the NTPF, and I am calling on the Health Minister to ensure its roll out as a matter of urgency”.