Declan Breathnach TD
Louth (and East Meath)

14th September, 2018

Latest waiting list figures show Varadkar’s target further away than ever – Breathnach

– Louth County Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital have almost 15,000 on their outpatient waiting lists and 1,330 on their inpatient waiting lists –

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach says the latest waiting list figures clearly show that the Government is failing to get to grips with the challenges facing the health system.

Deputy Breathnach made the comments after new figures show 514,585 people are now waiting for an outpatient consultation.

Deputy Breathnach said, “Today’s figures on waiting lists are a damning indictment of eight years of mismanagement of the health care system by the Fine Gael Government.

“Figures are also being massaged under the waiting list validation programme whereby the HSE has been issuing patients with letters advising them to contact the hospital if they still want an appointment despite some waiting years to hear from them. If the patient fails to reply within a short time frame of ten days they are automatically removed and GPs are informed. However, if treatment is still needed they must be referred again placing them at the bottom of waiting lists. This is a despicable practice.”

“The two hospitals in County Louth, Louth County Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, have almost 15,000 on their outpatient waiting lists and 1,330 on their inpatient waiting lists. This is not to mention the number of children awaiting referrals for various services in occupational therapy, for mental health assessment and many other vital services, I could go on and on.”

“When Fianna Fáil left Government in 2010 waiting lists were at historic lows, over our time in Government, we managed to reduce waiting lists from years to months.

“Somehow over the last eight years, in spite of spending more money every year on health care Fine Gael led Governments have managed to turn those waiting lists back from months into years.

“The current performance by Minister Harris is not good enough. It’s clear that this Government is bereft of ideas and competence on health care.

“82,597 people are now waiting over 18 months to have an examination and this figure is rising month on month. This is despite the target set by Leo Varadkar that by the end of June 2015 no-one would wait more than 18 months.

“Minister Harris needs to get the National Treatment Purchase Fund involved in addressing the outpatient challenge too. Fianna Fáil secured the restoration of the fund in 2017 for in patients. It is now beginning to show real results with some 12,000 fewer waiting in August 2017 than were waiting in July 2017 – a reduction of almost 14%.”

-Ends-

Johanna Walsh, Office of Declan Breathnach T.D., Leinster House, Dublin 2 (Declan – 087 2697638)

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