Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has expressed his alarm at the astonishing increase in hospital waiting lists over the year.

Figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund reveal a 50% increase in the number of children on hospital waiting lists between September 2012 and September 2013.   Overall patient waiting times have soared by 18.6% in the year.

“In the last two years the health services have received a hammering under Minister Reilly’s so called ‘reform’ agenda.  Instead of improving services for patients as he promised, the reality has been the exact opposite,” said Deputy Kelleher.

“The most frightening statistic in these latest figures is that waiting times for children have shot up by 50%. There were 2,995 children waiting this time last year and today there are 4,448 waiting for the treatment that they need. This is a national disgrace and Minister Reilly should be ashamed.

“Equally disgraceful is the Government’s continued denial that there has been a deliberate policy change in relation to discretionary medical cards. Figures clearly show that 10,400 people with serious illnesses and disabilities have lost their medical cards this year.  This is before the Government even embarks on the cull of medical cards announced in Budget 2014.

“This week alone, there were more than 1,000 patients waiting on trollies in hospitals around the country.  The health services are at a tipping point, Minister Reilly is out of control and the Government is just ignoring the problem.

“Far from taking the action that is needed to support patients, improve efficiency and ensure better outcomes, Minister Reilly now wants to further undermine our health services. The 2014 Health Service Plan is being presented to the Minister on Monday next. This plan will outline cuts of at least €666 million. Waiting lists will jump further unless Minister Reilly starts protects frontline patient services from further cuts in 2014”