– It’s the not knowing that’s frustrating, just having a set date for a procedure, whether it be in 12 month’s time would be a comfort –

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach has spoken in the Dáil last week on hospital waiting lists and said that the latest figures make for depressing reading.

“I spent from 1991 to 2005, some 15 years on the Health Board trying to ensure that both a regional and national approach be taken to the delivery of Hospital Health Services.”

“While the recently published Report “The Sláintecare Plan” has ambitions and goals to deliver that sort of fair, affordable and effective public health system, and while the report is cross party, we need to hear a concrete commitment from current and successive Governments to implement this plan.”

“I am reminded of the idiom “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail” and I hope this is not just lip service – and to quote Robbie Burns “The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men” which we know often go awry.”

“The current state of affairs cannot be permitted to continue.   In my own County of Louth the latest figures on waiting lists makes for depressing reading.  Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital has 1,064 waiting for inpatient services or surgeries with over 200 of those waiting for more than a year and 18 of them waiting more than a year and a half.  In Louth County Hospital there are 669 people currently on the waiting list for inpatient services.   For outpatient services there are 13,061 people on the waiting list at Our Lady of Lourdes across all specialities and 3,088 at Louth County.”

“The Cross Border Healthcare Directive, for public patients, should be advertised more to those who wait for long periods.  While I am aware that this would not suit everyone as the patient has to pay for the procedure upfront and apply for reimbursement afterwards, and also that the Directive only covers medical costs and hospital costs and not the cost of travel and other ancillary costs.  When asked in a PQ about this in February this year the Minister replied that all hospitals were provided by the HSE with text on the Directive to be included in waiting list correspondence.  This has not been my experience as I have brought it to the attention of many people who had been waiting a long time for procedures and they said that they were never told about this” said Deputy Breathnach.

“In relation to the waiting lists I feel that it’s the not knowing that is frustrating.  I think if people were told, say for a non-urgent procedure that they will be seen in 12 months or even 18 months, just having a set date would be a comfort.”

-Ends-

Johanna Walsh, Office of Declan Breathnach T.D., Leinster House, Dublin 2

(T) 01 6183549 (Email)  declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie