June 14, 2024
Hospital waiting lists up; workforce plan and political leadership needed – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has expressed concern that waiting lists are continuing to rise, following an increase across all waiting lists in May 2024.

Waiting lists have increased by nearly 20,000 since February. 70% of people are waiting longer than 10 weeks for an outpatient appointment and 60% are waiting longer than 12 weeks for an inpatient appointment.

Deputy Cullinane said that new political leadership was needed to drive reform, fund hospital capacity expansion, and deliver a workforce plan for the health service. He added that government had yet to approve a workforce plan for 2024.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“Simon Harris and Stephen Donnelly have failed to get a grip on health waiting lists. New political leadership is needed to drive reform, fund hospital capacity expansion, and deliver a workforce plan for the health service.

“The vast majority of people cannot get access to timely care in the public health service. 60% of patients are waiting longer than the Sláintecare target for an inpatient appointment, and 70% are waiting longer than target for an outpatient appointment.

“Waiting lists have grown by nearly 20,000 since February. In the last month, the number of patients waiting on an appointment date grew by 6,000. The numbers waiting over the Sláintecare targets grew by 4,000.

“The Minister for Health’s waiting list plans have failed to make a dent in hospital waiting lists. The Minister has published a capacity plan that has not been properly funded. Government is sitting on a workforce plan for 2024 and enforcing a dangerous recruitment embargo.

“The Minister can publish as many plans as he wants, but without positive leadership and meaningful action they are just meaningless words on paper.

“2024 will be a lost opportunity for reducing health waiting lists. The recruitment embargo should be lifted and the government should implement a multi annual health workforce plan. The Minister should set out the funding needed for his Department’s bed plan. These are crucial to reducing waiting lists at pace and with ambition.

“Sinn Féin would fund 1,800 hospital beds and 1,200 community beds for delivery by 2027. We would invest in capital infrastructure and workforce planning to increase surgical theatre and diagnostic capacity, safe staffing levels, and access to primary and community care.

“The health service needs a multi-annual plan to sustainably reduce waiting lists. If I was Minister for Health, I would work tirelessly to increase capacity, retain and train more workers, and build an accessible public health service.”

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