New Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly TD has said that the number of people waiting for an outpatient appointment in Ireland is the highest total ever recorded.

Commenting on the figures released by the Department this evening, he said, “More than 10% of the population are waiting for an outpatient consultation and a huge number of them are waiting a very long time for one.

“Almost 150,000 are waiting over a year with 77,547 of them left waiting on a list longer than 18 months.

“Ireland’s three children’s hospitals have 9,246 waiting over a year and a half; figures that are simply scandalous.

“I am deeply concerned that following a slight improvement over the past six months in the number of inpatient/day case patients, the number waiting has once again exceeded the 80,000 mark.

“Again a significant proportion is enduring lengthy waiting times. Some 13,787 have been waiting over a year.

“The fact is that there has been a complete lack of urgency in tackling this problem.

“The Waiting List Action Plan for 2018 was published just yesterday – a quarter of the year has already passed us by. While this plan did not necessarily extend to outpatients, the Minister for Health has pledged to publish one addressing outpatients ‘shortly’ but for the one in ten Irish people waiting for an appointment – shortly isn’t quick enough.”