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Over 584,000 patients waiting for their first outpatient hospital appointment last month

The public health service has come under pressure in recent months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Image: Shutterstock/sfam_photo

OVER 584,000 PEOPLE in Ireland were waiting for their first outpatient appointment in June – an increase of over 8,000 patients on the previous month. 

Figures released from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) show that a total 584,399 people are on the waiting list, an increase on the 575,863 patients who were waiting in May.

There were a further 84,223 people waiting for an appointment for their inpatient or day case procedure, while a further 35,878 patients were waiting to receive an appointment for their GI Endoscopy. 

The NTPF data published today has shown that 11,830 people have been given a date for their inpatient/day case or endoscopy procedure. 

The public health service has come under pressure in recent months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which lead to a number of outpatient appointments being cancelled in some hospitals. 

Following the release of the latest figures from the NTPF, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) president Dr Donal O’Hanlon said “the government must urgently expand public hospital capacity by opening more hospital beds and other facilities and by filling the 500 plus permanent hospital consultant posts that are now vacant”. 

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“If the government does not fill these permanent consultant posts without delay, it will be condemning the population to ever-increasing delays in obtaining urgent assessment and hospital treatment,” Dr O’Hanlon said. 

“The consultant recruitment and retention crisis must be addressed by government immediately in view of the significant challenges our acute hospital services have and will continue to ensure in the months and years ahead,” he said. 

Dr O’Hanlon added that the ICHA has sought an urgent meeting with Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to “agree practical plans and workable solutions to address these pressing challenges”. 

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