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Tick tock

76,666: the exact number of people waiting for hospital treatment right now

The Health Minister says he’s working on it but the waiting lists have swelled by almost a third since this time last year.

WAITING LIST FIGURES released today show there has been a significant increase in the number of people waiting for treatment in hospitals.

Of the 41 acute hospitals, a worrying 33 reported a rise in waiting lists for adults and children.

In total, there are 76,666 patients now waiting for either inpatient, day case or gastrointestinal procedures – up 28% on the figure a year ago.

The data from the National Treatment Purchase Fund shows the majority of people are waiting for inpatient, or day case treatments and this number has risen by more than 16,000 compared to January last year.

Galway University Hospital has the highest number of patients on waiting lists for these procedures.

At the two children’s hospitals – Temple Street and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, there are waiting lists totalling 2,769. Some 888 children who are patients of the hospital in Crumlin have been waiting more than six months for their procedure.

Wrong direction

In response to the figures today, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said he acknowledges that waiting times are “going in the wrong direction”.

“This has been compounded by Emergency Department overcrowding in recent weeks which has caused some operations to be postponed. My plan is to alleviate the overcrowding first in the interests of patient safety, and ramp up hospital activity later in the year to get waiting times down.”

It is a very difficult and deteriorating situation but I can assure you that everyone in Health is working as hard as we can to get on top of things.

The Irish Medical Organisation has claimed the rising numbers on waiting lists will only be countered by a significant investment in hospital capacity and increased beds.

“The cuts in health budgets over successive years have had a direct, negative impact on the quality of services which our system now provides,” commented Professor Trevor Duffy, President of the IMO. “The cuts in the numbers of acute hospital beds, nursing home beds, rehab facilities and in resources for General Practice are all financial cuts and the response has to include providing additional financial resources.”

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