Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East Anne Rabbitte says this government’s record on outpatient waiting lists is abysmal, with new figures revealing a 323% increase in the number of people waiting more than 18 months for an outpatient appointment at University Hospital Galway – they’re up from 1,184 in May 2016 to 5,008 at the end of January this year.

Deputy Rabbitte explained, “Contrary to the Taoiseach’s claims earlier this week that waiting lists are going in the right direction, the situation in Galway has deteriorated so substantially that there are now 5,008 people waiting over 18 months for an outpatient appointment at UHG.  Since this government took office almost 2 years ago, we have seen these waiting lists surge by a massive 323%.  There have also been substantial rises in the numbers waiting over a year.

“This is a scandalous situation, and the fact that the Taoiseach appears completely oblivious to it is very worrying.  This government is attempting to pretend that waiting lists are under control but the figures from the National Purchase Treatment Fund tell the real story – that fact of the matter is that since this government came into power in 2016, the waiting lists have gotten progressively worse.

“Orthopaedics, Urology and ENT lists are some of the longest in the region, with almost 1,900 people waiting in excess of 18 months to be seen.  These exceptionally long waiting times could have serious implications for these patients.  Not only may they be in pain, their conditions could worsen and become less treatable.

“Waiting lists have been a consistent problem within our health service, and despite government claims of increased funding and targeted measures, the situation is just getting worse.  Minister Harris needs to re-examine the measures undertaken by his Department and the HSE to tackle the issue and ensure that resources are directed to the services that most need them.  The current waiting times are simply not acceptable and I am urging the Minister to use all of the options open to him to bring these waiting lists under control”.

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