Patients waiting longest for hip surgery
Patients in need of hip and knee operations are among those who have fared worst in spiralling hospital waiting lists since the current Government took office more than a year ago.
There are 11,654 people now in the queue for orthopaedic surgery, compared to 10,634 in May 2016.
Those needing orthopaedic surgery have the longest wait, and the list of those waiting longest has also grown - with 543 now in the queue for more than 18 months compared to 320 when the Government took office.
It comes as the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare looks set to recommend later this month that private patients no longer be treated in public hospitals to cut waiting lists and overcrowding.
In a significant response to the proposal, the body representing private hospitals said it would welcome the move and would be able to cope with the inflow of these patients. The transfer "could happen even earlier than the Oireachtas committee recommends".
Simon Nugent, chief executive of the Private Hospitals' Association, said: "It makes sense to take patients with private health insurance out of the public system and this initiative could be implemented very quickly. "The transfer of patients could commence in the first year of a new strategy rather than waiting until year two as suggested by the Oireachtas Committee," he added.
Public waiting lists have grown dramatically since the Government took office in May 2016, with the numbers needing surgery rising from 74,986 to 84,838 in March this year.