© The Independent
Numbers of people waiting for hospital treatment have increased by almost half in the past two years, the Dáil has heard.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said that children are particularly badly hit with 2,000 waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment in Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin.
“It needs dramatic and urgent action by the Minister,” Mr Martin told the Taoiseach – pointing to a 45pc increase over the past two years.
He said 5,000 people were waiting at Beaumont Hospital – up 57pc since January.
Mr Martin said that the problem began with former Health Minister Dr James Reilly abolishing the Treatment Purchase Fund which sought to ease waiting times by funding private treatment to public patients.He added that Dr Reilly’s successor, Leo Varadkar, made no progress with the waiting times except for fixing new deadlines. Mr Martin said that €15m had been allocated for a new Treatment Purchase Fund – but this was not enough.
The Taoiseach said a new Health Service Executive initiative to tackle waiting times would be unveiled soon. He acknowledged that no waiting times were ever acceptable but said €500m extra had been allocated to health.