Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher TD has repeated his call for Minister Varadkar to take urgent action to reduce hospital waiting lists. The latest figures from the HSE reveal that more than 46,000 people waiting more than 8 months for a hospital appointment.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “The scale of this crisis is frightening. Minister Varadkar has admitted that he is not expecting the situation to improve before the middle of next year. The impact of a series of flawed Budgets has now become apparent as thousands of people languish for months or even years on waiting lists. It is simply not good enough.
“The number of people waiting more than 8 months for in-patient or day-case hospital treatment has soared from 1,764 in January to 9,693 in September of this year. The HSE performance report also highlights a massive increase in the numbers of patients waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment. They rose from 9.406 in January to 46,642 – a jump of 385%. That’s one per cent of the population waiting more than a year.
“The HSE Service Plan for 2015 needs to take these escalating waiting lists into account and budget for them adequately. It is now more than four weeks after the Budget and the plan has still not been published, raising concerns that sufficient funding may not be available.
“The Minister cannot continue to acknowledge the intensifying crisis without putting any tangible plan in place. These ever increasing waiting lists are the direct result of squeezed services, brought about because of sustained budget mismanagement. Many hospitals are already at breaking point and cannot sustain any further pressure. Minister Varadkar must break with the tradition of his predecessor and ensure that money is provided to effectively address this issue”.