Waiting lists continue to rise

Waiting lists are continuing to rise, with the latest figures showing that the total number of patients waiting over six months for in patient and day treatment has jumped by 96% since the end of last year.

The numbers waiting more than a year for hospital treatment has increased by over 40% in a single month.

A total of 11,845 child and adult patients were waiting over six months for hospital treatment at the end of May, compared to 6,038 at the end of December last.

Broken down further, the figures show the numbers waiting over a year for hospital procedures has now jumped from 36 to 931 between December and May, while the numbers waiting between nine and 12 months have increased from 71 to 2,956 in the same period.

A total of 653 patients were waiting over a year and 3,062 were waiting between nine and 12 months for treatment at the end of April.

While the numbers waiting between six and nine months for treatment dropped slightly between April and May, there was a 42% increase in 12 month-plus waiters during the same period.

The total number on waiting lists in all time periods is now 48,279, the highest it has been for over a year. The total numbers dropped to 41,732 in September of last year.

Health Minister James Reilly's Special Delivery Unit made some inroads into waiting lists during 2012 - however, the gains made over the past year have now been reversed.

The Department of Health and HSE have blamed the jump in waiting lists on the 'prolonged winter' this year.

This, they say, led to an increase in the number of patients being admitted through hospitals emergency departments, limiting the number of beds available for non-emergency patients and therefore increasing waiting lists.

Minister Reilly announced last month that €18 million was being allocated to five hospitals that accounted for most of the long waiters, in a special initiative to tackle treatment lists.

The hospitals with the largest numbers on treatment waiting lists are Beaumont, University Hospital Galway, the Mater and St James's.

These hospitals between them have over 14,000 patients on waiting lists - 29% of the total national waiting list numbers.


[Posted: Mon 01/07/2013]


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