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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 18 August, 2019

There are more people on hospital waiting lists than ever before

More than half a million people are on outpatient waiting lists however the number of inpatients waiting has fallen slightly.


THE AMOUNT OF people on hospital waiting lists has reached the highest number ever recorded, with more than 707,000 people waiting for treatments or to be seen by a doctor.

According to the National Treatment Purchase Fund’s (NTPF) most recent figures, waiting lists grew by more than 6,000 during May.

The largest of these – 511,904 patients – are outpatient cases. This list is made up of people who have been referred to an outpatient clinic by their GP.

The South/South West Hospital group has the longest outpatient waiting list, with 108,132 people waiting. The individual hospital with the longest outpatient list is Galway University Hospital, which has over 39,000 people waiting.

Nearly 80,000 of these people have been waiting for an appointment for more than 18 months.

There has been a slight reduction in the number of inpatients and day case procedures, continuing a trend that has emerged in recent months. May’s figures show a total of 78,596 people waiting, down from 79,414 in April and 80,058 in March.

Health Minister Simon Harris welcomed the reduction in the number of people waiting for hospital operations or procedures.

“A number of high volume procedures are being targeted for treatment by the NTPF and in May we saw marked decreases in the number of patients waiting for procedures such as Angiograms, Varicose Veins, Cystoscopies and Skin Lesions,” he said.

The minister also said that the HSE and the NTPF are working hard to reduce the outpatient list, which “remains a significant challenge”.

A draft Outpatient Action Plan for 2018 has been presented to me and work is ongoing to finalise the plan which is focused on improving overall use of resources to tackle long patient waiting times and to ensure timely access to treatment and care for patients.

Sinn Fein Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly said she is shocked but not surprised that the total number of people on waiting lists has reached the highest number ever recorded.

“There has hardly been a month since this government came to office where the total number of people on waiting lists has decreased,” she said.

Indeed, under this current Taoiseach, who is in office one year today, the number of people on waiting lists has increased by over 20,000.

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Ceimin Burke

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