NEW FIGURES FROM the HSE have revealed that more than 200,000 people are currently on hospital waiting lists, with 5,000 of those waiting between three and four years.
A total of 806 people have been waiting over four years to see a consultant after being referred by a GP.
Almost 160,000 have been on lists for 12 months or less, with 46,000 waiting over a year. The report revealed that Waterford Regional Hospital had 570 patients waiting more than four years for orthopaedic services, while 110 people are waiting for the same services for more than 48 months at Roscommon County Hospital.
Tony O’Brien, chief operating offices with the HSE’s Special Delivery Unit told RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland this morning that “too many people are waiting far too long” too get outpatient appointments. He said that the delays were due to a lot of waste in the system, with ‘do not attend’ rates high compared to international standards.
He also said that inefficiencies and problems in terms of gatekeeping were to blame. There is an aim to cut out the step of having to see a consultant to to order a diagnostic test which has already been identified as necessary by a GP.
In April the HSE performance report revealed that there were 178,000 on waiting lists, but these latest figures include date from more hospitals. The full list is still not complete, and so those numbers are likely to rise.
At the time the health minister James Reilly described the 178,000 figure as “utterly unacceptable” and said that there are major problems within the HSE. Tony O’Brien meanwhile said this morning that the system isn’t working.