Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher TD has expressed his alarm following confirmation that hospital waiting lists have reached a new high. 71,559 patients are currently waiting for in-patient / day case surgery, a 32% increase under Minister for Health Leo Varadkar’s tenure.

Deputy Kelleher commented, “The deterioration of our health service has continued under Minister Varadkar’s watch. The waiting time targets set out by the Minister continue to be missed. The 18 month target for both outpatient and in-patient appointments, which was to be achieved by the end of June 2015, has still not been met.

“The number of patients stuck on outpatient waiting lists also jumped by some 15,000 in February. It’s now over 390,000 and there are concerns that it will soon breach the 400,000 mark.

“Unfortunately things are unlikely to improve in 2016 as the government approved a HSE Service Plan which leaves hospitals facing a shortfall of some €100 million,” said Deputy Kelleher.

The Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson also reiterated his commitment to reactivating the National Treatment Purchase Fund to tackle the growing waiting lists.