'Anger' and 'frustration' in county Louth at hidden health service waiting lists

David Lynch

Reporter:

David Lynch

'Anger' and 'frustration' in county Louth at hidden health service waiting lists

Louth Deputy Declan Breathnach says patients in Louth are angry and frustrated following revelations about hidden waiting lists within the health service. Following a Prime Time Investigates programme it emerged that thousands of patients waiting for procedures were not included in official lists published by the HSE.

Deputy Breathnach commented, “There is nobody who cannot have been affected by the cases that were highlighted in the Prime Time programme on Monday night. Children were in tears, women in chronic pain and men on the verge of suicide. This did not make for easy viewing, yet there are hundreds more people going through a similar scenario as they languish on a hospital waiting list. This is simply not acceptable.

“What is even more disturbing is the fact that the number of people on these lists is so much higher than we were led to believe. The programme exposed the fact that there are thousands of additional patients waiting for operations who are not included in the published lists, yet the Health Minister has been unable to explain why this is. The published lists already document a crisis situation, but these hidden lists identify a much more serious problem.

“The latest figures show that there were 1,028 people on waiting lists at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, which in itself is an appallingly high number, but the reality is there are probably many more people waiting for appointments and procedures. The situation is now completely out of control. Patients are already frustrated, and these revelations have only served to increase their anger and undermine their confidence in the system.

“Minister Harris must publish the real figures without delay, but more importantly than that he must come up with tangible solutions to fix the problem. Fianna Fáil pushed for the reinstatement of the National Treatment Purchase Fund, and I welcome the Government’s renewed commitment to the scheme, however he must also come up with measures to effectively address this crisis”.