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  • Southside

Children’s hospital waiting lists ‘unacceptable’

Friday, 22nd September, 2017 8:00am
Children’s hospital waiting lists ‘unacceptable’
Children’s hospital waiting lists ‘unacceptable’

THE Minister for Health has come under fire over a “shocking increase” in the number of children on waiting lists at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.

The figures, released late last Friday week (September 8) show an increase of 176 children on the waiting list since July.

Sinn Fein Senator Máire Devine said the “dramatic” increase in the past month was an extremely serious situation which needs to be addressed.

“Our most vulnerable, sick children should not have to wait for treatment,” she said. “What’s more, it is clear that sick children have to wait even longer for their treatment than before. There has been an increase of 287 children waiting more than 18 months in Our Lady’s Hospital. This is a complete disgrace and absolutely unacceptable.”

According to the latest monthly figures from the National Purchase Treatment Fund (NTPF), a record 695,000 patients are waiting for treatment in public hospitals across the country.

Even though the Government pledged to spend €50 million this year on initiatives to cut waiting lists, the figures show that the numbers are up over 7,500 last month compared to  July.

Reacting to the figures, Deputy Seán Crowe (SF) called for a complete overhaul of the hospital waiting list system as it was “not delivering for these patients in a fast or efficient manner”.

“The number of people on waiting lists in Tallaght Hospital alone increased by 198 in August,” he said.

 “Over 650,000 people, enough people to fill nine Croke Park stadiums, are currently waiting on life changing operations in the Irish health service,” he said.

“Behind every patient is a personal story. Many are in pain or discomfort, and depending on their ailment and their location, they could be waiting either months or years for their treatment. 

“According to the latest figures, there is now a total of 27,181 on waiting lists in Tallaght Hospital alone after the increase in August. This is clearly not acceptable.

“Sinn Féin believes that in order to successfully tackle the long waiting list crisis in the Irish health system a new model is needed to maximise the capacity of the public hospital system, alongside the introduction of strategic management across all waiting lists.”

However, there has been a reduction in the total number of patients waiting for inpatient/day case procedures.

The data shows that in August there were 608 fewer patients waiting in the 15 to 18-month category while there was an increase of 358 patients waiting over 18 months.

In a statement, Minister for Health, Simon Harris, welcomed the fact that there had been a significant reduction in the total number of patients waiting for inpatient/day case procedures. He added that the Government must now build on that progress. 

“The overall number of patients on the list is down by over 2,100 in August,” Minister Harris sid.

“This is good progress and shows in a very real way the impact of Government funding of €20m provided to the National Treatment Purchase Fund this year.

“It is progress that we must now build on and that is why funding for the NTPF is to rise to €55m in 2018, so that more procedures can be carried out and more people treated.”

In a statement, the HSE added: “The latest data from the NTPF shows that the inpatient and day case plan is on target with 20,968 patients taken off the list.

“This includes patients that have been treated through the NTPF day case initiative and patients who have been treated through the in-sourcing initiative in public hospitals.”



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