Fianna Fáil TD for Meath West, Shane Cassells, has said that Minister Harris’s unambitious commitment to stabilise the outpatient waiting lists for 2019 has clearly failed.

Deputy Cassells was commenting as information provided to Fianna Fáil shows that the total number of people on outpatient waiting lists in the hospital since May 2016 has risen by over 40%.

He explained, “The outpatient waiting list in Our Lady’s Hospital Navan is continuing its relentless upward surge.

“In May 2016 there were 4,578 people waiting for an outpatient appointment in the hospital. In December 2019 this figure stood at 6,605. The number waiting more than 12 months for an appointment has shot up from 370 in May 2016 to 1,792 in December 2019 and shockingly, the numbers waiting longer than 18 months for an appointment has risen from just one in May 2016 to 607 in December 2019.

“Imagine waiting for than a year and a half just to be seen – waiting in pain and deteriorating all the while. The medical professionals are doing their very best to meet the needs of their patients, they are working under huge pressure and they are just seeing their lists getting longer and longer due to a lack of resources and a lack of help.

“If it wasn’t so serious it would be laughable that when he was Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar promised that Fine Gael would bring to zero the number of people waiting over a year and a half for an outpatient appointment by the end of June that year.

“Today, in spite of the health budget growing by an unprecedented €3.5bn, the numbers waiting is now larger than ever. It’s time for change,” concluded Deputy Cassells.