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Long Lists

Nearly half a million people waiting longer for medical appointments than Sláintecare targets

The lengthy lists mean the number of people waiting for an appointment beyond Sláintecare targets stands at 471,406.

NEARLY HALF A million people are waiting for a hospital appointment over Sláintecare targets as of May, according to new figures released today.

In total, 593,388 patients are waiting for a first hospital outpatient consultation and 87,709 patients were waiting for an appointment for their inpatient or day case treatment. 24,140 patients were waiting to receive an appointment for a GI Endoscopy. 

The long lists mean the number of people waiting for an appointment beyond Sláintecare targets stands at 471,406.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) released the latest public hospital waiting list data for May this afternoon.

The Department of Health has defended the wait times, saying that there has been a 25% reduction (or 156,000 people) in the number waiting longer than Sláintecare targets compared to peak wait times during the pandemic.

The department also cited a decrease of 1.7 months in the average wait time compared to the same time last year.

However, there are still 471,406 people waiting longer than the Sláintecare targets and 233,831 patients waiting within the targets.

Removals from the waiting list are 5,100 higher than target and additions are 20,000 higher than target, which results in the waiting list being 14,900 above target year to date.

Earlier in the year, hospitals around the country were under significant pressure, especially in emergency departments, compared to the same period last year, with knock-on effects for capacity in scheduled care.

The Department of Health said that it and the HSE are monitoring activity metrics and the associated targets.

“Despite the significant challenges from the aftermath of the pandemic, emergency department pressures, and other operational factors such as recruitment, our hospitals have delivered improvements which are making a real difference to patients,” the department said in a statement.

“Many individual hospitals have delivered impressive reductions in both their waiting lists and waiting times,” it said, citing a 55% reduction in Cork University Hospital’s OPD Rheumatology waiting list and a 73% reduction on the Endocrinology waiting list in Galway University Hospital.

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