Responding to the latest figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund showing a record number of 610,000 people waiting for outpatient appointments, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that the latest surge in hospital waiting lists is hugely concerning.
He has called on the Minister for Health to stop dithering and urgently produce a plan to protect capacity in acute hospitals. Sinn Féin published a plan in early August.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“Hospitals are struggling to deliver care in the current environment.
“I produced a plan to protect capacity in early August, but the Minister for Health has produced nothing.
“The basic facts are that we do not have enough doctors, nurses, medical scientists, consultants and allied health professionals to deliver the level of care needed to provide safe services in a Covid environment.
“There has been a serious lack of urgency surrounding this issue from the Minister and time is running out. He has been high on soundbites, but short on action.
“Without proper investment, the pressure on workers will be even more severe and patients will be waiting even longer.
“I am also highly concerned about NPHET’s risk assessment; particularly surrounding the consequences of poor communications. The Minister for Health has poorly communicated decisions made and he has floated ideas which have had to be dismissed by the Taoiseach.
“Poor communication undermines public confidence and the authority of the government to act at a time of crisis.
“We need clear and common sense solutions and improvements in respect of testing and tracing, and we need a plan to provide Covid related and non-Covid care.
“Under this Minister, we won’t keep up; nevermind catch up if he does not get his act together.”