Monday 16 September 2019

Record 569,498 patients waiting to see a specialist

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Eilish O’Regan

The number of public patients waiting to see a specialist has jumped to a new record with 569,498 now in hospital outpatient queues across the country.

New figures released by the National Treatment Purchase Fund today (NTPF) show outpatient waiting lists have risen by more than 4,600 in the space of a month.

At the end of August 2019 some 68,390 patients were waiting for an appointment for their inpatient or day case treatment compared to 68,807 in July.

And 22,544 patients were waiting to receive an appointment for their GI Endoscopy, compared to 22,592 in July.

Commenting on the figures Fianna Fail spokesman on health Deputy Stephen Donnelly said the lists are continuing a relentless upward surge.

He said: "Every month so far in 2019 we have seen the outpatient waiting lists hit a record high.

"The outpatient waiting list is now up by more than 10pc this year so Health Minister Simon Harris has failed in his very unambitious goal for 2019 of ‘stabilising’ it.

"In 2015, then Health Minister Leo Varadkar promised that Fine Gael would bring to zero the number of men, women and children waiting over a year and a half for an outpatient appointment by the end of June that year.

"When Minister Harris took office in 2016 the number stood at over 13,000. Today, in spite of the health budget growing by an unprecedented €3.5bn, the number is now more than 106,000 men, women and children. So, for every one person waiting when Minister Harris took office, there are now seven people waiting over a year and a half.

"The additional numbers represent Croke Park filled to capacity, plus another 10,000 men women and children on the pitch. What this means is that men, women and children are waiting, suffering, getting sicker and in some cases dying while they wait for an appointment and treatment.

"This is the longest waiting list in the history of the state and represents the complete and utter failure of Fine Gael on healthcare,” he added.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News