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Hospital lists soared higher while parties were vowing to 'fix service'


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Hospital waiting lists shot up during the recent General Election campaign - as thousands more public patients joined the queue for surgery or an outpatient appointment.

While all political parties hotly debated the issue and promised to 'fix the health service', the number of patients waiting for surgery rose from 66,563 in December to 67,303 in January.

The numbers on outpatient lists who need to see a specialist went up from 553,434 in December to 556,770 last month.

There was a slight drop in the numbers of public patient waiting for scopes - down from 22,244 to 22,231.

The increase in the surgical waiting lists comes as thousands of public patients had their operations cancelled in order to free up beds due to the trolley crisis.

Despite this drastic measure, emergency departments remained crowded with 12,024 patients who needed to be in wards going without beds. Many of these will now wait weeks to be admitted for their surgery.

The grim figures show the uphill battle faced by the next government and comes after the failings of the health service emerged as a major election issue.

Fianna Fáil has promised to allocate €200m to the National Treatment Purchase Fund to provide private treatment for public patients - but the extent of the queues means there are no fast solutions to delayed access.

Irish Independent