Targets to be hit by June missed again in October – Kelleher
Attempts by Health Minister Leo Varadkar to spin waiting list figures today won’t wash says Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson Billy Kelleher.
Deputy Kelleher said: “The Minister diminished expectations on waiting times at the start of the year and set a target of 18 months for all inpatient and day case treatments (previous target 8 months) and also for outpatient appointments (previous target 12 months). These targets were to be achieved by the end of June. Yet again the target has been missed and in the case of outpatients, he is even further off target.
“Overall there was a 0.04% decrease in the total inpatient / day case list month on month. This means that the increase in that list since Minister Varadkar took office is now 27.71% instead of 27.75%.
“The number of outpatients waiting is also up 35,818 since he replaced Minister Reilly in July last year.
“Minister Varadkar may think that figures ‘continue to show improvements’ but no-one will be fooled.”
The Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson also warned that there will be a sustained effort to throw money at the problem up to the end of January so as to deliver some sort of downward trend in advance of the general election and that this should be treated with scepticism.
He added: “A similar pattern emerged in 2014 in advance of the local elections after Minister Reilly went on a temporary splurge. The then Minister for Health then got up in the Dáil to tell us that his targets were 99% met. Of course it all fell away in the months after the local elections. Given that the government says there is just €500 million fiscal space for the next budget, don’t be at all surprised if waiting lists surge again in 2016 and the year after.”