Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív says the waiting list crisis at University Hospital Galway appears to have completely fallen off the Government’s agenda.  There has been a 322% increase in the number of people waiting 18 months for an in-patient appointment.  There are now 1,093 people on the waiting list at the end of June.

Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “The situation at University Hospital Galway is almost unbelievable.  Despite a series of promises before, during and after the General Election about how health was a top priority for Fine Gael, the service is now infinitely worse than it was this time last year.  In fact waiting lists for in-patients at UHG are now the worst in the country.

“The latest figures are truly shocking.  The fact that there are more than 1,000 people waiting more than 18 months for in-patient treatment is scandalous.  University Hospital Galway is under severe pressure.  There is barely a week that passes whereby some new scandal is revealed.  The Emergency Department is chaotic, over 5,500 procedures were cancelled last year, there are issues with vacant posts and services are suffering.

“Staff and patients at the hospital are extremely frustrated.  Services are deteriorating and the Government is sitting on its hands.  Fianna Fáil has consistently called for the restoration of the National Treatment Purchase Fund to tackle waiting lists – it has a proven track record and was a key element of our health policy before the election.  Investment in the NTPF was one of the commitments we secured as part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement to facilitate a minority Government. Minister Harris needs to act without delay to ensure that that the fund is re-established as a matter of priority.

“These waiting lists cannot be allowed to grow at this rate.  It is simply unsustainable.  The Government needs to wake up to the crisis that is in front of it and put the measures in place to effectively deal with it”.