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The Irish health service has missed its target to cut waiting lists by 18% last year

  • Written by Dr McFerret
The Irish health service has missed its target to cut waiting lists by 18% last year.
The HSE only managed to reduce waiting lists by 4% so it was way off target.
That’s despite a €350 m waiting list plan.
The latest national public hospital waiting lists show there were over 812,000 people waiting for treatment, or to be seen at an outpatient clinic in December, according to the National Purchase Treatment Fund.
The only success reported was a cut in the number of patients waiting a really long time for care.
The number of people waiting longer than 18 months for an assessment at an outpatient clinic fell by over 38% last year.
Plus the number of people waiting over a year for an inpatient, or day case fell by over 22%.
But that is where the good news ends, unfortunately.
The Department of Health has put the blame on missing the targets down to a number of things, including Covid-19 surges, emergency department pressures and staff shortages.
There is always some excuse.
Were the targets they set ever realistic?
The bottom line is that hundreds of thousands of people are left waiting and pondering whether to go down the route of having healthcare abroad.
The latest figures include over 584,000 people waiting to be seen at an outpatient clinic for the first time, to be assessed by a consultant and then go on a waiting list.
There are also 81,500 people who have been given dates down the line for inpatient or day case treatment.
Consultants have warned that delayed care is dangerous and that the lists have been terrible for years.
Hospitals have also been writing to people under a ‘validation’ system asking if people still need their treatment.
If people fail to respond for whatever reason, they can be taken off the lists.
But even with this so-called validation, the lists have not reduced much and remain awful.
We also can see that there are over 58,000 people suspended from waiting lists, because they are not able to have their care at this time, for lots of reasons, including that they have deteriorated and are too sick.
It’s not the only thing that is sick – they system is sick and needs urgent treatment.

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