66,600 wait over a year for hospital clinics
More than 66,600 patients were on hospital lists for longer than 12 months to see a specialist at the end of last month - 2,165 of whom had endured delays of longer than two years.
The stark figures come despite a pledge that nobody would be waiting more than 18 months at the end of June.
Major backlogs remain in specialties such as ear, nose and throat and orthopaedics, figures compiled by the National Treatment Purchase Fund.
The HSE and the Department of Health were unable to provide waiting list figures for August yesterday although a reduction in delays for both an outpatient appointment and surgery were deemed a priority earlier this year.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said that funding of €51.4m has been approved on a once-off basis for the extra costs needed to increase patient treatments.
Hospitals are allowed outsource to private hospitals 15pc of their inpatient waiting list and one-in-five patients on their lists for an outpatient appointment.
The figures come as the Irish Independent revealed yesterday that the HSE is facing a €500m overrun in its spending again this year.
This is bad news for hospital overcrowding which threatens to escalate again this winter as hospitals are forced to implement cuts.
The figures for the end of July also reveal that 9,063 people were on waiting lists for surgery with another 7,335 waiting nine to 12 months.
Galway University Hospital had the largest number of patients facing long delays for surgery with 1,792 on waiting lists for at least a year.
The numbers enduring delays on A&E trolleys are already starting to climb with 30 patients waiting for a bed in St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin yesterday.
There were 26 waiting in Our Lady of Lourdes, Louth.