Hospital waiting lists have taken a turn for the worst again
Hospital waiting lists have taken a turn for the worst again.
Last month, the number of patients waiting for some form of healthcare in Irish hospitals was over 855,300.
That’s up almost 5,000 on the June figures.
These are the latest published figures for August from the National Treatment Purchase Fund.
All of this, at a time when the health service has promised a reduction in waiting lists this year.
Let’s look at some of the figures.
There are 627,856 people waiting to be seen, for the first time, by a consultant at a hospital clinic.
That number has increased on the June figure.
Of those waiting to be seen at an outpatient clinic, over 67,000 are waiting for an orthopaedic assessment, with 15,800 of these waiting for one and a half years, or even longer.
There are also 79,588 patients waiting for an inpatient, or day case treatment.
Within this group, there are 10,600 patients waiting for orthopaedic surgery.
Many are in pain and their quality of life is badly affected.
They may also be unable to work due to their illness, waiting for treatment.
The national waiting lists show there are over 27,100 people waiting for a gastrointestinal procedure.
Some of these tests would be to rule out cancer, so any delay is a big concern.
On top of those figures 27,869 people have been given a date in the future for care, while another 92,892 people have got what’s called an ‘indicative date’ sometime even further off in the future.
It’s all very depressing for people waiting for surgery and a key reason why more people are availing of their statutory right to healthcare abroad under the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive.
Long waiting lists can be dangerous, as people may get more unwell, or develop related or new health issues as they deteriorate waiting.
There are thousands of patients who have had their appointment in Ireland suspended, in many cases because they are not medically fit to proceed at this time.
That is a sad indictment of the Irish health service, that there is no hope in the foreseeable future of these waiting lists coming down significantly.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has had some impact on waiting lists, the impact has diminished at this point, with the daily case numbers low and continuing to fall.