February 11, 2022
Strategy needed to address 56,000 on general surgery waiting lists as patients left waiting more than 700 days in some counties – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has called on the Minister for Health to publish the long-awaited waiting list strategy, and the HSE’s National Service Plan 2022, to tackle unacceptably long waiting lists.

He said that this was needed to give strategic direction for investment in theatre capacity expansion and recovery beds to deliver more surgical procedures for the 56,000 people waiting on general surgery waiting lists.

He said that this investment is particularly needed in regional hospitals where waiting times are worst – for example in Waterford, which has the longest combined wait time in the state for general surgery at 734 days (24.5 months), and Mayo at 712 days (23.7 months).

The state-wide average combined waiting time for general surgery is 351 days (11.7 months).

Teachta Cullinane said:

“There are 56,000 people on waiting lists for general surgery, which is the highest of any surgical specialty. This is a major concern.

“16,000 people are waiting more than six months for an initial consultation, and a further 5,000 people are waiting more than six months for treatment.

“The average wait times for general surgery consultation and treatment lists puts the current combined average waiting time at 351 days.

“This problem is most acute in regional hospitals like Waterford and Mayo University Hospitals, which have the longest wait times for general surgery.

“The average patient needing general surgery in Waterford will wait an astonishing 734 days – 315 days for an initial consultation and a further 419 days for surgical treatment.

“The HSE’s 2022 National Service Plan must include a strategy for integrated waiting list management to address the severe regional imbalances across specialties like general surgery, which leaves patients in Waterford waiting twice as long as the average patient for general surgery.

“The Minister for Health needs to urgently publish his waiting list reduction plan to tackle the massive backlog on hospital waiting lists.”

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