'60,000 await' hospital procedures


The number of people waiting for three months or more for day procedures in public hospitals has risen by more than 7,000 in 12 months, new HSE figures show.

In December last there were 19,862 adults and children on national waiting lists for day case procedures for more than three months, up from 12,797 in December 2010.

Patients are only considered to be on national waiting lists three months after they are referred for treatment. Prior to that they are classified separately as new hospital referrals.

The HSE report shows that these new hospital referrals amount to a further 24,000 adults and children, bringing the day case total to 44,079 patients.

In December 2010, there were just over 35,000 on similar waiting lists for day case procedures.

The HSE report also shows that overall there were more than 15,700 adults and children waiting for elective in-patient treatment in public hospitals around the country, up by 1,000 on the same period a year earlier.

It shows that the longest elective in-patient waiting lists were recorded at the Galway University Hospitals group.

Last December there were 2,882 adults and children waiting longer than three months for day case procedures and a further 1,640 patients awaiting elective in-patient procedures in Galway hospitals.

The report says there were 941 adults and children on the waiting list for day case treatment for longer than three months at University Hospital Limerick last December.

At the same time there were 704 adults and patients on the waiting list for elective in-patient procedures for more than three months at the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore.

The HSE said it was working closely with the special delivery unit, established last year by Minister for Health James Reilly, to ensure that hospitals could meet the Government's target to reduce waiting time for patients to nine months by the end of this year.

Dr Reilly has said that some hospital waiting lists were always going to get longer because of the focus on dealing with people waiting over a year for treatment, where there had been much success.

He said the fairest thing was to reduce the number of people waiting over a year or more.