Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Offaly Cllr Eddie Fitzpatrick has criticised Minister for Health Leo Varadkar over his failure to meet outpatient appointment targets for Tullamore Hospital.
Cllr Fitzpatrick commented, “Fianna Fáil recently received information from the HSE which shows that 346 people are currently waiting greater than 18 months for an outpatient appointment at the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore. This is despite the Minister making a clear commitment last January that the backlog for outpatient appointments would be cleared.
“It’s alarming to see so many patients waiting more than 18 months for an outpatient appointment. People in Offaly are genuinely worried about the state of the health service in the county. We have seen a rapid deterioration in services over the past year. Trolley figures have reached record levels, frontline staff are under massive pressure to deal with the numbers of patients in the Emergency Department and in the wards, and now the targets set by the Minister for outpatient appointments are being missed.
“Former Minister for Health James Reilly set a target of 12 months for outpatient waiting lists. Minister Varadkar widened the goalposts when he came to office by extending the target to 18 months. He has consistently sought to diminish people’s expectations when it comes to the services they expect from the health service. However despite this he has still managed to miss his own target.
“Minister Varadkar spends a lot of time telling other Ministers how they should do their job, but he shirks away from his responsibility in his own department. How long is it going to take before Minister Varadkar actually gets to work and tackle the serious problems in our health service?”