Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson, Billy Kelleher TD, has expressed his outrage over waiting list figures that show that 78,499 patients are now waiting for in-patient / day case surgery. This is a new high.

“Waiting lists for hospital procedures have been on a persistent upward trend for some two years now. The corresponding figure for August 2014 was 53,431 so we have seen an increase well in excess of almost 47 per cent since then.”

“Targets on waiting times have been consistently missed, even after they were widened. An 18 month target to be achieved in June 2015 has again been missed and 4,143 people are now waiting more than a year and a half for treatment.”

“The number of patients waiting for on outpatient consultation also continues to rise and again the targets continue to be missed. Some 22,309 people are waiting more than 18 months to see a consultant with 74,084 are waiting over a year. This is simply not acceptable,” added Kelleher.

“Appallingly some 5,500 children are waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment in the Children’s Hospital Group. Bear in mind that this figure excludes children who may be waiting for appointments in other hospitals.”

“It is very disappointing that the June supplementary health estimate has not made a difference to these. A sustained effort is required to tackle this. As part of our Confidence and Supply Agreement with Fine Gael, the reactivation of the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) has been secured, and will, in the short term, provide extra capacity to deal with the backlogs,” concluded Kelleher.