Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne has expressed his concern following the publication of new waiting list figures which show that some 76,696 patients are now waiting for in-patient / day case surgery.

Deputy Browne said, “The waiting lists for hospital procedures have been on a consistent upward trend for some two years now. The corresponding figure for June 2014 was 52,595 so we have seen an increase of almost 46 per cent since then.

“Government targets have been consistently missed, even when they were widened. An 18 month target to be achieved one year ago has been missed and 3,038 people are now waiting more than a year and a half for treatment.”

“The number of patients stuck on outpatient waiting lists also continues its upward trend and again the targets continue to be missed. Some 15,149 people are waiting more than 18 months to see a consultant.

“The figures also show that more than 5,000 children are waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment in the Children’s Hospital Group. This is nothing short of a scandal. This figure does not include children who may be waiting for appointments in other hospitals.

“It remains to be seen whether the supplementary estimate announced last month will make an impact on waiting lists. Minister Harris and the HSE really need to get a grip on this. 2016 has seen a marked deterioration in both inpatient and outpatient waiting lists. If current trends continue then there will be well over 80,000 on inpatient waiting lists and 450,000 on outpatient waiting lists by the end of the year.”