Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that a serious crisis of missed care is facing the health service as more than 880,000 people are now on waiting lists. This follows another record high month for waiting lists.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“There are now more than 883,767 people on waiting lists in this State – a hundred thousand more than this time last year.
“There is also a massive amount of hidden missed care as a result of a major (16%) drop in outpatient referrals in 2020.
“These were down by 176,408 in 2020 compared to 2019.
“When all of these are caught up on, we are looking at lists in excess of one million.
“This is a very serious crisis. There will be a tsunami of missed care, and that is going to have serious consequences for patient health and wellbeing.
“There is a serious backlog of procedures which also needs to be caught up on – planned procedures were down 401,014 on 2019 levels.
“This represents a serious shortfall in healthcare delivery that will need to be caught up on urgently to prevent conditions from getting far worse.
“The government need to be planning for this now and we urgently need capacity injected into the health service.
“Elective hospitals will play a crucial role in reducing waiting lists, but these will not be on stream for another few years. Construction likely won’t begin until 2023.
“Government needs to do everything it can to expedite the delivery of elective hospitals, additional beds and theatre space for more procedures, and the hiring of more consultants and support staff to deliver more care.
“We need to empower healthcare professionals to do their job.”