Thursday 22 August 2019

New high in waiting lists to see specialists


(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Hospital waiting lists to see a specialist have reached a record high of 564,829, as Ireland continues to have among the worst waiting times in Europe.

The latest data by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) shows a jump of 4,578 in the space of just one month.

This is an increase of 53,154 patients (10.4pc) since this time last year and an increase of 48,667 since the start of 2019.

The record number comes as emergency departments continue to suffer winter levels of overcrowding, putting pressure on beds.

However, headway is being made for those waiting for an appointment for inpatient or day-case treatment, falling from 69,671 in June to 68,807 last month.

According to the figures, 22,592 patients were also waiting to receive an appointment for their GI endoscopy, down 645 compared to June.

Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) spokesperson Dr Donal O'Hanlon said the consultant recruitment and retention crisis was a key factor in the long wait times patients now face. "We need to end this crisis," he said.

"To do so, Minister for Health Simon Harris must honour his commitment to begin talks with consultant representative bodies in September."

A spokesperson for Mr Harris said this week the Government acknowledged waiting times "are too long in certain areas".

His office argued adding waiting lists together does not create an accurate picture and disregards increasing activity with more people being treated each year.

Irish Independent

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