Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Older People, Mary Butler has said that the excessive waiting times for orthopaedic and ophthalmological services is adversely affecting older people in this country, and severely impacting on their quality of life.
Deputy Butler was commenting after figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund show that there are 62,464 people on outpatient waiting lists, with 11,100 on inpatient waiting lists for orthopaedic services.
“At University Hospital Waterford, there are 2,572 people on outpatient waiting lists for an Opthamological appointment, with 2,411 on the inpatient list for treatment. For those waiting on an orthopaedic appointment, there are 6701 on the outpatint list and a further 129 waiting for an inpatient service.
“Nationally, In terms of ophthalmological services, there are 42,124 on the outpatient list with a further 10,707 waiting for treatment on the inpatient list.
“The figures seem to be going in the one direction – up, and it is older people who are feeling it the most.
“Losing your sight from cataracts or having reduced mobility due to the need to have hip or knee replacements severely impacts on an older person’s quality of life.
“I have raised this issue consistently with the Minister for Health, however little to no progress is being made.
“The NTPF needs to establish a special task force to look at waiting lists for older people. There is a lot of capacity in the private sector in these two specialities, and progress can be made if the will is there.
“We owe it to older people to ensure that their quality of life is maintained for as long as possible. Ministers Harris and Daly need to up their game, and come back to the table with a strategy to support our older citizens,” concluded Butler.