Saturday 18 November 2017

Fianna Fáil demands Dáil correction over Kenny's claims on waiting lists

Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher has written directly to Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl seeking to have the Dáil record corrected. Photo: Tom Burke
Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher has written directly to Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl seeking to have the Dáil record corrected. Photo: Tom Burke
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Fianna Fáil has accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of misleading the Dáil over hospital waiting list figures.

The party has now written to the Ceann Comhairle seeking that Mr Kenny correct the Dáil record following remarks he made last week about the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).

The row stems from revelations that the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) does not publish figures for 49,000 public patients waiting for operations.

Fianna Fáil has claimed the Taoiseach and Health Minister Simon Harris "falsely" claimed the health service never published figures for patients who received an appointment date or those due a follow-up.

During Dáil debates on the controversy, both Mr Kenny and Mr Harris claimed the NTPF always collected but never published certain figures since it was established in 2002 and insisted this was in line with "international standards".

"A perception that there was an attempt to cover up figures is not true," Mr Kenny told the Dáil.

"Since the National Treatment Purchase Fund started in 2002, this was always the way, according to best international standards at that time, that these figures were presented," he said.

However, responses from the Department of Health said the NTPF did not start collecting these figures until 2011.

The responses show the NTPF could provide details only of so called 'pre-planned' appointments - when a date is given to a patient - for the past two years. The department said the agency started collecting figures for follow-up appointments in 2011.

Billy Kelleher has written directly to Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl seeking to have the Dáil record corrected.

In the letter, the Cork North-Central TD said Mr Kenny and Mr Harris gave a "clear impression" unpublished waiting list figures were being collected by the NTPF since it was established.

Mr Kelleher said the parliamentary questions showed unpublished lists had begun to be compiled only since 2011 and not 2002.

The Fianna Fáil politician said the Dáil record needed to be corrected and called on Mr Harris to "get on with his job" to tackle the waiting list issue.

Irish Independent

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