McManus says FF will not honour promise to end hospital waiting lists

 

The Government will fail to meet its pre-election promise to end hospital waiting lists by May 2003, according to Labour's health spokeswoman, Ms Liz McManus.

In a statement yesterday, Ms McManus said the Minister for Health, Mr Martin, had just 500 days left to fulfil this pledge. However, the most recent waiting list figures showed that waiting lists had actually risen since the second quarter of the year when the promise was made.

"The Fianna Fáil election manifesto makes a firm commitment to 'permanently end waiting lists in our hospitals within two years', a promise publicly reiterated by Minister Michael Martin on May 6th, just 11 days before the general election", she said.

"Given the snail-like progress in reducing waiting lists - in fact they are on the increase in many categories - this is an election promise that Fianna Fáil made in May which is likely to be exposed as another lie".

The most recent waiting list figures showed 29,174 people on waiting lists, including in-patient and day cases.

This was a dramatic rise on the figures announced for the second quarter of the year, said Ms McManus.

"Fianna Fáil also promised at the election that no adult would be waiting longer than 12 months by the end of the year and that no child would be waiting longer than six months. These targets are not going to be met as there are currently 6,273 adults waiting longer than 12 months and 1,201 children waiting longer than six months for essential treatment", Ms McManus said.

She said thousands of people would spend another Christmas in pain and distress as they waited to obtain the health care they needed and deserved.