April 12, 2024
Number of patients waiting on an appointment date grew by 7,000 in March – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has expressed concern that waiting lists are going in the wrong direction, following an increase of 7,000 patients on active waiting lists in March 2024 compared to February.

Teachta Cullinane said that there are now 896,500 patients on hospital waiting lists, including 737,000 who are still waiting on an appointment date.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“In the last month, waiting lists have grown again, this time by 7,000. There are now 737,000 people waiting on an appointment date, and 896,500 patients in total on waiting lists.

“The Minister for Health’s waiting list plans have failed to make a dent in hospital waiting lists. The truth is the Minister can publish as many plans as he wants, but without adequate funding to increase capacity they are just meaningless words on paper.

“2024 will be a real lost opportunity in aggressively tackling health waiting lists because of the government’s disastrous budget. The recruitment embargo is biting hard, and the lack of funding for new measures is holding the health service back.

“To properly and sustainably tackle waiting lists, the recruitment embargo should be lifted and the government should fund the 1,500 rapid build beds that are needed. These are crucial to reducing waiting lists at pace and with ambition.

“Long health waiting lists, coupled with high numbers of patients waiting in Emergency Departments for beds, are a product of bad policies and a lack of political leadership.

“A Sinn Féin-led government would fully fund the delivery of 2,400 hospital beds over five years, fund additional step-down and recovery beds, increase surgical theatre and diagnostic capacity, accelerate the delivery of elective-only hospitals and improve access to primary and community care.

“The health service needs a multi-annual plan to sustainably reduce waiting lists and if I was Minister for Health, I would work tirelessly to increase capacity, retain and train more workers, and build a national health service that can see and treat patients in a timely fashion.”

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