08/08/2018

Almost 1 Million Patients Waiting For Hospital Appointments

Almost 1 million patients are waiting for hospital appointments in Ireland according to an analysis of various health waiting lists.

Commenting on the analysis, which shows that there are a total of 997,258 patient appointments outstanding in the first half of 2018, Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader Dara Calleary described the situation as "a national scandal".

Deputy Calleary said: "The very fact that there are almost one million people waiting for an appointment speaks for itself. Never before have we seen a situation whereby people have been failed so badly by a government.

"The vast majority of this list is based on the National Treatment Purchase Fund monthly waiting times. In June 2018 some 717,419 were on the lists compiled by the fund. However the NTPF does not publish waiting lists for a number of diagnostic scans and the latest available figures (April 2018) showed a further 135,000 waiting for MRIs, ultrasounds and CT scans.

"There are also significant waiting lists for community care. There are 37,229 people waiting for either speech and language therapy or assessment in June 2018.

"A further 31,361 were waiting for an occupational therapy assessment in the same month. The HSE however was unable to provide figures for the number of people waiting for actual occupational therapy treatment. If that data was provided it is likely that the numbers on waiting lists would surpass the one million threshold."

Deputy Calleary said that the scale of the waiting lists is "truly shocking" and highlights that the level of demand and the lack of capacity available to meet it.

He concluded: "There will be no improvement in the situation unless there is investment in capacity, and as our population continues to live longer, it poses more serious issues for our health service.  The ESRI has projected that demand for public hospital services could increase by up to 37 per cent for inpatient bed days by 2030. The time for grand plans, staged strategies and PR launches is over, what we need now is action".

(MH)

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