Letterkenny University Hospital
Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle has reacted to recent figures which show that 1,442 people are waiting for outpatient appointments for longer than two years in Donegal at present, with 94 people waiting for longer than 3 years to obtain an outpatient appointment.
Deputy Gallagher said that these figures outline the crisis which exists within our health system at present.
He said: "The fact that over 1400 people are waiting two years or more in Donegal, show that all current and existing policies are simply not working. For any person to wait greater than four years for treatment is shocking, even a delay of two years or more is totally unacceptable; the level of deterioration that can occur in that time is oftentimes irreversible and can have devastating effects on the patients. Non-acute patients are being left high and dry by a system that that simply can’t cope nor is there any strategy put in place by the HSE and Government to adequately cater for this growing crisis."
The Dungloe-based representative said that he found it particularly worrying that according to the Minister in a recent Dáil debate said that over 30,000 people were removed from the waiting list through a validation process
"While I absolutely acknowledge that lists need to be accurate, we have heard from GP representatives who reported that doctors are inundated with hundreds of letters every week due to the validation exercise and that it has created more barriers and bureaucracy," he said.
Deputy Gallagher said that the National Treatment Purchase Fund, established by Fianna Fáil was successful in reducing waiting times. He added that the scheme was criticised by former Health Minister, James Reilly and was subsequently cancelled by him.
"We now see that it is the only effective show in town when it comes to reducing waiting lists for patients. We are exiting 2018 as we entered it, with record numbers on trolleys and record numbers on waiting lists," Deputy Gallagher said.