Hospital procedure waiting lists climb above 80,000 for first time

Almost 14,000 of these patients, including 1,800 children, have been waiting more than 12 months

The number of patients waiting for a hospital procedure has climbed to more than 80,000 for the first time, latest figures show.

There were 80,232 patients waiting for inpatient or day-case treatment at the end of November, a marginal increase on the previous month, according to the figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Almost 14,000 of these patients, including 1,800 children, have been waiting more than 12 months.

The number of patients waiting to see a consultant in an outpatient appointment fell more than 11,000, to 602,832, the update shows. This includes more than 83,000 children.

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Almost 173,000 of those on the outpatient waiting list have been waiting for more than 12 months.

There was no change in the waiting list for gastrointestinal endoscopy, with 25,526 patients on the list.

Galway University Hospitals (GUH) has the longest inpatient waiting list, with 9,798, followed by St James’s Hospital in Dublin, with 5,809.

GUH also has the longer outpatient waiting list, with more than 50,000 waiting to see a consultant, including 21,000 waiting for more than a year.

Health Service Executive interim chief executive Stephen Mulvany and Department of Health secretary general Robert Watt acknowledged this week the health service is behind target on plans to reduce waiting lists, though Mr Watt highlighted progress made on reducing long waiters.

The Government has allocated €350 million this year to initiatives designed to cut waiting lists, though much of the money remains unspent, largely because staff cannot be recruited quickly enough.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times