Forty-five per cent of people waiting for ophthalmology treatment in Donegal and the surrounding region have been waiting for more than a year, it has been revealed.
Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has urged the HSE needs to address staffing levels to tackle the “unacceptable” wait times for eye care procedures.
Deputy Pringle said: “The HSE told me they are working to ensure timely access to children and adults who require therapy services, and to reduce long waiting times for these important services.
“From the figures they provided me, it seems they are failing miserably in this regard,” he said.
Deputy Pringle received the figures in response to a parliamentary question about waiting lists for ophthalmology services in the HSE’s Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs). Donegal, Sligo-Leitrim/West Cavan, and Cavan/Monaghan are in CHO Area 1.
According to the figures for CHO Area 1, as of November 2021 there were 4,784 patients waiting for treatment, with 2,141 waiting for more than a year. The patients who had been waiting for more than 52 weeks ranged in age from children to people over age 65.
Deputy Pringle said: “The HSE must employ people to address these waiting lists. The HSE needs to sort out staffing levels to ensure these waiting lists can be tackled.
“And it’s only through added staff that these waiting lists will be reduced,” he said.