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Non acute patients ‘left languishing’

A local Dail Deputy has said that there are currently 393 people waiting over two years on the outpatients list in Roscommon with five waiting three to four years.

Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has said non-acute patients are being left languishing on waiting lists due to a system which cannot cope as the latest figures show over 5,000 people in the CHO2 area have been waiting for outpatient appointments for more than two years.

Figures obtained by Fianna Fáil up to December 2018 show that the extent of the problem is countrywide with over 47,000 people waiting nationally which includes a total of 5,244 people on outpatient waiting lists for over two years in the CHO2 area which covers counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.

Commenting on the issue, Deputy Murphy said: “More and more non-acute patients are just being left languishing on waiting lists due to an inefficient system which is simply can’t cope- a breakdown of the latest figures for the CHO2 area show that there are 3,098 people on outpatients waiting lists in Galway University Hospital with over 2,500 of them waiting over two years, almost 500 waiting three to four years and 79 waiting more than four years.

“For any person to wait greater than four years for treatment is shocking, the level of deterioration that can occur in that time is oftentimes irreversible.

“In Portiuncula Hospital 80 patients have been waiting on the outpatients list for over two years while in Roscommon 393 people have been waiting over two years on the outpatients list with five waiting three to four years. In Mayo General Hospital some 1,037 people have been left waiting over two years on the outpatients list with 522 waiting three to four years and some 109 waiting more than four years- these figures are simply not acceptable.

“I also have serious concerns about the validation exercise as the Minister claimed that it would play a major in reducing the waiting lists and that it is envisioned that 30,000 patients will be removed from the outpatient waiting list through the validation consultation process in 2019.

“However it is very concerning to hear from GP representatives who report that doctors are inundated with hundreds of letters every week due to the validation exercise and that it has created more barriers and bureaucracy.

“The National Treatment Purchase Fund which was originally established by Fianna Fáil and was successful in reducing waiting times, was criticised by former Health Minister, James Reilly. We now see that it is the only effective show in town when it comes to reducing waiting lists for patients,” concluded Deputy Murphy.

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