Sinn Féin TD for Longford Westmeath, Sorca Clarke, has urged the government to act urgently and end the scandal of long gynaecology waiting lists.
Figures released to Teachta Clarke by the HSE in response to a parliamentary question show that figures have increased even further from record highs this time last year when she first raised concerns with the Health Minister.
Speaking today, Teachta Clarke said:
“Figures released to me by the HSE in response to a parliamentary question reveal a shocking crisis in gynaecology waiting lists. There are currently 30,805 women waiting for a gynaecology appointment. This is an increase from the 30,180 women who were waiting when I submitted the same question this time last year.
“Last year, I was assured by the Health Minister that these figures were so high due to the immediate response to the pandemic. I am deeply alarmed that a year later these figures have not decreased, but have in fact increased. It is clear that there is a very concerning ongoing crisis in our gynaecology waiting lists which has been continuing for far too long.
“Behind every number is a woman anxiously waiting for healthcare that she needs. Delayed appointments leads to delayed care, which can in turn lead to delayed diagnoses and delayed treatment. This is unacceptable.
“Last year when this scandal first emerged, I urged the Health Minister to ensure that robust procedures, policies, funding and resources were put in place to address this crisis. It is clear that the Minister is not doing enough. I am once again urging him to prioritise this issue so that women get the care they need.
“Sinn Féin will be raising this with the Health Minister directly in the Dáil. I am calling on the Minister to publish a plan for reducing gynaecology waiting lists specifically. He must ensure that services are sufficiently resourced to reduce these waiting times, as my colleague David Cullinane has outlined over the course of many policy documents on ending long waiting lists.
“It is not enough for the government to express surprise every year at these figures, while failing to address the problem. The time for action is now. Lip service is not good enough. We need to see a proper plan in place to address this crisis. Sinn Féin is committed to holding the government to account on this until patients see the changes that are needed.”