Donegal TD Pat the Cope has hit out at the government after outpatient waiting list figures reached another record high nationally.
556,411 people were waiting for an outpatient appointment with a consultant at the end of May 2019. That’s up over 40,000 since the end of last year.
For Letterkenny University Hospital at the end of May 2019, 17,096 outpatients were waiting for treatments while 5,768 were on the list for a year or more and 3,645 waiting for longer than 18 months.
This is an increase from 13,369 outpatients waiting in 2016, when 2,580 were waiting for 12 months and 835 were waiting for longer than 18 months.
Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher has stated the recent figures released from the Department of Health are “shocking to say the least”.
The Fianna Fáil TD has accused the Department of Health of losing control of the situation.
Deputy Gallagher said: “The Minister for Health said late last year that he hoped to stabilise outpatient waiting lists during 2019.
“He didn’t say what this meant but I doubt that anyone could define it as an increase of almost 8 per cent in five months. I am worried that this situation is now completely out of control and the Minister is failing to tackle the underlying issues.
“The real concern as ever is for the long waits with an even bigger percentage increase – 18 per cent – in the numbers waiting over 18 months. Some 106,145 have been waiting since at least November 2017,” stated Pat the Cope.
On the other hand, Pat the Cope has welcomed a fall in the In-Patient Day Case Waiting List, putting the improvement down to the restoration of the National Treatment Fund secured by Fianna Fáil under the Confidence and Supply arrangement.
“However, I am concerned that too many people are still waiting too long for treatment with 10,424 waiting for over a year. We need to use the Treatment Purchase Fund as a guarantee of shorter waiting times – it needs to kick in for all patients after a set waiting time as it did during the years 2002 to 2010,” concluded Pat the Cope.