There is a little bit of good news on hospital waiting lists
There is a little bit of good news on hospital waiting lists.
New figures show that the national total fell by 11,200 patients last month.
However, that’s the best of it because there are still over 841,000 patients waiting for treatment, or to be seen at an outpatient clinic for the first time to be assessed by a hospital consultant.
The figures show there are an extra 55,579 people who are classified as ‘suspended’.
It sounds like a prison sentence and in some ways it is, as they wait for long needed care.
These suspended people are off the waiting list temporarily, as they are unfit for treatment, or not able to attend for clinical or personal reasons.
We do not get any more information about this large group of patients, so it’s not clear how many have become even more ill while waiting for treatment.
Once again, hospital consultants have expressed concern at the number of people waiting for treatment, or to be assessed in public hospitals.
It is a terrible indictment of the system that there are 98,000 children on waiting lists, with one in four waiting longer than a year for treatment, some in pain, with awful conditions like scoliosis.
The extra millions of euro allocated by the Government this year to cut waiting lists has hardly made a dent.
There needs to be a serious rethink on tackling waiting lists.
Thinking about this recently, there is a measure that could help a lot.
Every patient on the public waiting list should get a letter, or email, telling them about the option of using the European Cross Border Healthcare Directive.
They should be given full information of how the system works, and how to use it and importantly that it is a European right to treatment abroad.
It would be a great service the health system could provide for patients and it could help make quite an impact on the overall waiting lists.
Everyone wins when the lists go down.
So now this is an initiative Stephen Donnelly as Health Minister might adopt?