Hospital waiting lists rise to new record of 695,000

Figures shows Government initiatives having little impact on constantly rising figures

Waiting list numbers for public hospital are up over 7,500 last month compared to July, figures from the National Purchase Treatment Fund show. File photograph: Getty Images

Waiting list numbers for public hospital are up over 7,500 last month compared to July, figures from the National Purchase Treatment Fund show. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Almost 695,000 patients are waiting for treatment in public hospitals, according to the latest monthly figures - a new record.

Waiting list numbers are up over 7,500 last month compared to July, figures from the National Purchase Treatment Fund show.

The Government pledged to spend €50 million this year on initiatives to cut waiting lists, but the latest figures show this has yet to have a significant impact, with steady increases since the start of the year.

Minister for Health Simon Harris last year pledged that no public patient would have to wait longer than 15 months by October, but later abandoned the target.

The overall total includes 497,300 people waiting for an outpatient appointment, up over 3,000 on July.

There were 83,946 people waiting for an inpatient or day case procedure in hospital, down more than 2,000. Finally, 18,508 patients were waiting for a gastrointestinal test, about the same as the previous month.

In addition, 94,881 patients are due to be seen in the next six weeks or are waiting for a scheduled annual check.

Galway University Hospitals have the longest outpatient waiting lists in the State, at over 39,000, and the longest inpatient list at almost 12,000.

Some 59,483 outpatients have been waiting for more than 18 months, while 6,490 people have been waiting for inpatient or day case treatment for more than 18 months.

ENT (Ear, nose and throat), Orthopaedics and Dermatology were the specialities with the longest outpatient waiting times.