Record number of people waiting for treatment in Irish hospitals

The Taoiseach says the figures include a "lot of double counting"

Record number of people waiting for treatment in Irish hospitals

File photo of a hospital bed, 07-092018. Image: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/PA Images

The number of people waiting for treatment in Irish hospitals has hit a new record high.

Figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) show over 700,000 people were waiting to be seen or treated by a doctor at the end of August.

The NTPF figures are released across nine separate lists.

The highest outpatient waiting lists were at Galway University Hospital, University Hospital Waterford and the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

This afternoon, the Toaiseach Leo Varadkar said there is a "a lot of double counting" included in the figures.

“There are not one million out of 2.4 million people on waiting lists,” he said.

“There are not even that many sick, never mind on waiting lists.

“So when you see those figures, they include people who have an appointment already and are waiting to come in.

“They include people who are suspended from waiting lists; they include people who are waiting on things like annual checks for example – and obviously you have to wait for an annual check – and they also include a lot of double counting.”

Treatment

The total includes 514,585 people waiting for an outpatient appointment and 74,189 people waiting for inpatient or day case procedures. The inpatient list has fallen by 2,000.

The figures include more than 48,000 children - one third of whom have been waiting for over a year.

Nearly half of the people on the outpatient list have been waiting longer than six months, while the same is true for over 30,000 people on the inpatient list.

The total figure includes nearly 12,000 people who were suspended from the lists for a range of reasons.

Winter plan

It comes after the INMO warned that the HSE has no plan in place to deal with expected hospital overcrowding over the winter months.

Health experts are warning that there is no reason to expect any improvement in the overcrowding in Ireland’s Emergency Departments and hospital wards this winter.

The figures come amid reports that a major overspend at the Department of Health has dashed plans for tax cuts or increased spending in next month’s budget.