Deputy Pearse Doherty has slammed the Government over its failure to tackle hospital waiting lists following the latest data published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) which has again revealed that Outpatient waiting lists are continuing to reach record highs.
The data shows that there are now a total of 15,420 people awaiting a first appointment at a Consultant-led clinic at the hospital, up from 15,326 the month previous.
The figures represent a 20% increase compared to the same period two years ago. Meanwhile, 2,692 patients have been on outpatient waiting lists at the hospital for over 18 months – the longest waiting category recognised by the NTPF.
Deputy Doherty said “A few weeks ago when the NTPF published waiting list data for August which showed that over 15,300 people were then waiting to be seen by a consultant at Letterkenny Hospital, I was extremely critical of the Government for its response in tackling the health crisis.
“Since then, the body has published its latest data for the month of September which shows that there are now 15,420 patients waiting for outpatient treatment across the various specialities – twenty per cent more than two years ago.
“Moreover, the number of patients recorded as having been waiting for 18 months or longer has gone up each month during 2018 and now stands at 2,692.
“This situation is out of control and yet the Government has done little to try and resolve the problem of ever-growing waiting lists at LUH.
“The records clearly show that more and more patients are being forced to wait longer and longer to receive treatment, and yet we have a government that is doing nothing to ensure that patients here can access treatment in a timely manner.”
And Deputy Doherty says matters are only getting worse as we face into winter.
“We are now facing into winter and, despite repeated warnings from opposition TDs, health professionals and others, there is no doubt that these waiting lists will inevitably worsen as our hospitals are set for yet another winter overcrowding crisis.
“And despite repeated calls from myself and others in Sinn Féin for clarity with respect to the government’s announced plans to increase bed capacity in our acute public hospitals, including a commitment to reopen the Short Stay Ward at Letterkenny, there is still much uncertainty surrounding when these beds will come on stream.”