OVER 300 public healthcare patients are waiting more than four years to be seen by a consultant. That this situation can exist in the Ireland of 2012 is deeply shocking.
We see ourselves as a First World country but these figures show that, when it comes to public healthcare, vital elements of our services are of a Third World standard.
More than 178,000 public patients are now waiting to be seen by a consultant, having been referred by their GP. That such figures emerged in a week when we learned that the average consultant's paycheck for public patients totals €150,000 is troubling.
Consultants, most of whom also have private patients, say they have treated 10pc more patients in the past two years. In light of the waiting list figures do we believe them?
More importantly, can Health Minister James Reilly force them to work even harder?