Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has criticised the Government for its continuing failure to tackle the growing hospital waiting lists.
Deputy Kelleher commented: “At the start of 2015 the Minister for Health abandoned his predecessor’s targets of there being a maximum 8 month waiting time for inpatient/day case appointments and one year timeframe for out-patient an appointment.
“Instead he moved the goal posts and set a target of 18 months waiting to be achieved by the middle of this year. Hospital waiting lists were to subject to the same strategy of diminishing expectations he has employed across the health service.
“Incredibly even this vastly reduced target has not been met within the Minister’s timeframe.
“More than 11,235 people are waiting in excess of 18 months for an outpatient appointment. 766 of these are children. Meanwhile over 66,000 are waiting more than a year for an appointment and more than 5,000 of these are children.
“For in-patient and day case procedures just over 1,368 people are waiting more than 18 months. 17,390 are waiting more than nine months for treatment.
“Bear in mind too that Emergency Departments saw a 40% increase in the number on trolleys last month. This is quite simply a crisis. The Minister’s aim of diminishing expectations is now providing diminishing returns.”