Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has expressed great worry at the growth in waiting lists and the potential of a further surge in Covid-19 cases stopping elective care.
Speaking this evening, Teachta Cullinane said: “The massive growth in waiting lists over the last number of months is highly concerning.
“Despite the best efforts of our healthcare workers operating at full capacity, waiting lists and waiting times are up again this month.
“We saw record growth in waiting times because of the pandemic.
“Over 4,000 more people are waiting for appointments and treatments than last month. 249,959 people are waiting more than 12 months – up from 243,102 last month – while our outpatient list is now at 612,083.
“We did not have enough ICU and acute hospital capacity to cope with the first wave, and now we are looking at a second wave without that necessary capacity once more.
“As the medical experts and ICU management made clear on PrimeTime last night, capacity in critical care units is dangerously low.
“Overflow surge capacity is there, but it is not safely staffed.
“We have called every year for more ICU beds, more acute beds. This advice went ignored by Fine Gael for the last decade, and they instead cut ICU beds.
“We now have fewer ICU beds than 2009. This has left us dangerously exposed and elective care will be cancelled because of that failure.”