Record numbers on hospital waiting lists, Fianna Fáil claims

Figures show numbers queuing for in-patient and out-patient appointments on rise

New official figures published on Friday showed the numbers queuing for in-patient/day case hospital procedures and out-patient appointments continued to rise in recent weeks. File photograph: Getty Images

New official figures published on Friday showed the numbers queuing for in-patient/day case hospital procedures and out-patient appointments continued to rise in recent weeks. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Record numbers of people are now on hospital waiting lists, Fianna Fáil has claimed.

New official figures published on Friday showed the numbers queuing for in-patient/day case hospital procedures and out-patient appointments continued to rise in recent weeks.

The figures, published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), showed there were more than 420,000 people waiting for a hospital out-patient appointment at the end of June.

This represented an increase of about 5,000 over the figures for May.

At the same time, the total number of people waiting for an in-patient or day case procedure in a public hospital also increased over recent weeks.

The NTPF figures showed there were 76,696 people on such waiting lists last month.

In May the waiting list for in-patient and day case procedures stood at 74,986.

‘Long waiters’

The new figures also indicated the number of “long waiters” - people who have been queuing for longer than 15 or 18 months - also increased.

In June there were 3,541 people waiting between 15 and 18 months for in-patient or day case treatment.

There were just over 3,000 people waiting longer than 18 months for in-patient or day case procedures.

In May there were 3,153 people waiting between 15 and 18 months and 2,263 people waiting longer than 18 months for in-patient or day case treatment in hospitals.

The figures showed there was also a surge in the number of people waiting for long periods for out-patient consultant appointments.

In May there were 17,000 people waiting between 15 and 18 months to see a specialist in an out-patient clinic,but by the end of June this number had increased to 19,525.

The numbers waiting longer than 18 months for an out-patient appointment increased from 13,695 in May to 15,149 at the end of June.

Fianna Fáil said the numbers on waiting lists had now reached “another new high” .

Fianna Fáil spokesman on mental health James Browne said: “The waiting lists for hospital procedures have been on a consistent upward trend for some two years now. The corresponding figure for June 2014 was 52,595, so we have seen an increase of almost 46 per cent since then.

Targets missed

“Government targets on waiting times have been consistently missed, even when they were widened. An 18-month target to be achieved one year ago has again been missed and 3,038 people are now waiting more than a year and a half for treatment.”

Mr Browne maintained the numbers on out-patient waiting lists were continuing on an upward trend and that official targets were being missed.

He said there were 15,149 people waiting more than 18 months to see a consultant.

“Scandalously, more than 5,000 children are waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment in the Children’s Hospital Group. Of course, this figure does not include children who may be waiting for appointments in other hospitals.

“Whether the supplementary health estimate announced last month will make a difference remains to be seen, but the Minister and the HSE really need to get a grip on this.”

This year, he said had seen “a marked deterioration in both inpatient and outpatient waiting lists. If current trends continue, by the end of the year there will be well over 80,000 on the former and 450,000 on the latter.”