Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher says Minister Varadkar needs to urgently tackle hospital waiting lists as the scale of the crisis across the country begins to emerge. The number of patients waiting more than 9 months for in-patient or day case hospital treatment has soared from 510 in January to 5,448 in July of this year.
The latest figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund reveal that at the end of July there were over 360,753 people on an outpatient list, up from 309,496 in January. Almost 38,000 of these patients have been waiting more than 12 months for an appointment, that’s up from 9,604 in January.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “These figures reveal the extent to which the Government has been misleading people about what is happening within our health services. Despite numerous promises and assurances that waiting lists are decreasing, the latest statistics expose the fact that waiting times are actually rising dramatically. The escalation of waiting times in hospitals between January and the end of July this year, particularly in our cities, is alarming. There has been a fivefold increase in the numbers of people waiting more than a year for in patient and day cases at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, and there are significant backlogs at the Mater Hospital, St. James’s, Tallaght, Cork University Hospital and Galway University Hospital.
“Despite the Government spin that waiting times are falling, these figures outline a very different reality. In the space of seven months, the number of people waiting for both in and outpatient appointments has rocketed. Many patients are forced to wait well over a year for an initial appointment and I am gravely concerned that this already appalling situation will only get worse as hospitals are being forced to do more with less.
“€200m is being cut from hospital budgets this year, a decision which will see services reduced further. The flawed HSE Service Plan is compromising hospital services and undermining patient safety – we must now wait to see if Minister Varadkar will follow through on his rhetoric and actually secure appropriate resources for our health service in the coming budget”.