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Donegal senator claims that long waiting lists are deliberate

Senator Pádraig MacLochlainn said he isn't surprised at the length of hospital waiting lists

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Sinn Féin Senator claims that long waiting lists are purposeful

Letterkenny University Hospital

Senator Pádraig MacLochlainn has claimed that it is the objective of the Fine Gael government to force people to pay for their health care due to frustratingly-long waiting lists. 

It has been reported in the Donegal News that the wait for an urgent echocardiogram at Letterkenny University Hospital can be up to 45 months, while a patient could wait for a routine procedure for just over 4 years.

Senator MacLochlainn said that as public representatives they find that people are contacting them in relation to the long period of time that they have to wait for such procedures. 

"We are being contacted by people who are waiting on echocardiograms and it is a serious and potentially life-threatening situation," he said. 

He added that it was 'incredible' that waiting lists are as they are and that it is 'very distressing' for people who have to wait long lengths of time for procedures. 

Even in situations where their doctor intervenes and states that the impending procedure is urgent - people continue to face into lengthy-waiting times, he said.

"What blows my mind is that a GP says 'that in my professional opinion is urgent' and they still wait long periods of time," he said.

"I don't believe that this is an accident in our hospitals. People are being pushed into their own money or getting loans from the credit unions to go privately and get these procedures done. There is two-tier system in place here. They (the government) are trying to force us to pay twice for health and people are being forced to take out private health insurance," he said. 

He described the health system, at present, as being in line with the Fine Gael right-wing ideology.  

"I am saying to the people of Donegal that this is not an accident. You starve the public system and force people into the private system," he said. 

Figures compiled from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) reveal that as of the end of May, a total of 15, 474 patients are awaiting on outpatient appointments, 2,201 of which have been on waiting lists for at least 18 months.