Figures provided to Fianna Fáil by the HSE reveal significant waiting lists and waiting times for essential healthcare services in the primary care sector.  Thousands of patients are waiting over a year for important medical appointments.

Primary Care Spokesperson John Brassil said, “While hospital waiting lists and the waiting times for services such as CAMHS command a lot of attention there are other areas where people are also enduring long waits. There are some 33,279 are on waiting lists across three specialities in primary care, with more than 5,000 waiting over a year.

“Dietetics is an increasingly important area. Dietitians apply their knowledge of food, nutrition and related disciplines to promote health, prevent disease and contribute to the management of disease.  However, at the end of June 2017, there were 14,728 people waiting to see a dietician, with 2,944 waiting for more than a year – that’s a fifth of the list.

“Similarly more than 14,000 are on a list to see an audiologist – a professional  trained to evaluate and rehabilitate people with hearing loss and related disorders. 1,520 of those waiting have being doing so for more than a year.

“Almost 4,500 people are waiting for a podiatry appointment. Podiatrists diagnose and treat conditions of the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg. 900 people have been on the list for more than 12 months – more than half of them aged over 65.

“Waiting lists such as these may not have the profile of others and the conditions may not be life threatening but they are critical to a healthy quality of life, something that will become ever more challenging with the demographic changes that are coming”.