Almost 680,000 on public hospital waiting lists, latest figures show

Almost 500,000 people waiting for outpatient treatment, NTPF says

Almost 680,000 people remain on public hospital waiting lists for various procedures, according to the latest published figures. Photograph: iStock

Almost 680,000 people remain on public hospital waiting lists for various procedures, according to the latest published figures. Photograph: iStock

 

Almost 680,000 people remain on public hospital waiting lists for various procedures, according to the latest published figures.

By the end of September, outpatients, the largest group of those awaiting treatment, has approached half a million, now at 495,318, figures from the National Treatment Purchase fund show. That compares to 497,300 at the end of August.

There were just over 83,000 existing or active inpatients awaiting treatment while a further 18,423 who had been given first appointment dates are also now among those listed.

Just over 10,000 patients had procedures suspended which can happen for a variety of reasons, whether through voluntary postponement of a previous appointment or because an individual is not well enough to undergo a procedure.

A further 62,874 people are awaiting follow-up appointments having completed initial treatment.

Simon Nugent, chief executive of the Private Hospitals Association, noted a welcome slight reduction of 909 inpatients awaiting treatment.

“Endoscopy waiting lists are up by 682 which is similar to the number of patients to be treated by [the Health] Minister’s endoscopy NTPF initiative announced in the last couple of weeks,” he said in a statement. “It looks like this will just address this one month’s increase. This is worrying.”

Specialist appointments

He also noted that while the out-patient total had dropped by 2,000, the number of those waiting for a specialist appointment for longer than 18 months has gone up by almost 1,500.

“We still need dramatic new thinking to stop tinkering with the numbers at the margin and to see real reductions,” he said. “That’s why the Minister for Health Simon Harris needs to convene an emergency summit bringing all players together to see what approaches could be most effective.”

In its own analysis, the Health Service Executive (HSE) said the number of patients waiting more than five months has fallen by 1,333 from 10,791 in August to 9,458 in September.

The total number of patients on the in-patient and day case list has reduced by 900 in the same month.