IF ABORTION was available in Ireland there would be a 10-month waiting list, Senator John Crown warned today.
Dr Crown, who is a leading cancer specialist, later defended the remark, saying it was a joke and meant in a satirical way.
The outspoken medic made the remark during an interview this morning on RTE radio with broadcaster Pat Kenny.
Dr Crown was commenting on the latest figures from the HSE showing hospitals plunging further into financial crisis while over 300,000 wait to see a specialist.
It comes as the debate on the introduction of limited abortion in Ireland is expected to ignite.
Health Minister James Reilly will be given an expert group report in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin warned if there are more cuts to the health service it will go into meltdown.
He said: “113,000 patients waiting for a year or more to be seen and 16,600 waiting four years or more to be seen – these are appalling figures.”
The Health Minister intends to take further hundreds of millions out of the health budget in each of the years 2013 and 2014.