The latest hospital waiting lists from the National Treatment Purchase Fund show no sign of any relief for outpatients enduring long waits says Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly TD.

“Every month so far this year we have seen another new high for the outpatient waiting lists. In June it rose to 560,251.

“Over 174,000 of those waiting for a consultation are now doing so for more than a year – an extraordinary total. To put it in perspective only six counties in the republic have a population greater than that number.

“Minister Harris set a very unambitious goal for 2019 of stabilising the outpatient list. However, an increase of almost 8% since the end of last year shows that even that target has been missed too.

“In 2015 Leo Varadkar set a target that no-one would be waiting 18 months for an outpatient appointment by the end of June that year. Four years on over 100,000 are now in that bracket – that’s 100,000 people waiting since the end of 2017.

“In relation to the inpatient/day case list it is disappointing that this has shown a slight upturn to more than 69,000. It may have been that the industrial action last month was responsible for this. This is one that will have to be watched,” concluded Deputy Donnelly.