Belfast Telegraph

Public hospitals unable to deal with day-to-day issues, Kelleher warns

The number of patients waiting for treatment in public hospitals is continuing to rise, leading to warnings there is no longer capacity to deal with day-to-day health issues.

Almost 687,000 patients are waiting to be seen for routine, non-acute procedures and diagnostics.

Figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund for July show an increase of nearly 9,500 on the previous month.

The bulk of patients are waiting to be seen by a consultant for the first time at an outpatient clinic.

Fianna Fail health spokesman Billy Kelleher TD said it was a "scandalous" situation.

He demanded that health minister Simon Harris increase capacity in the health system to ensure speedier access to diagnostics and non-acute procedures.

Mr Kelleher said: "Capacity is no longer there to deal with day-to-day issues.

"Minister Harris needs to urgently bring forward proposals to Government about how he will address these waiting lists, and assure the public that the Irish health system will be more than an acute system, and that routine treatments and procedures will be dealt with in a timely manner."

Galway University Hospital has the biggest inpatient, day case and outpatient waiting lists in the country, with over 50,500 patients waiting, according to the figures.

Other hospitals with very long outpatient waiting lists are Waterford University Hospital with 36,367 waiting and the Mater in Dublin with 31,254 waiting.

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