FIANNA Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has expressed alarm at rising waiting list figures at Letterkenny General Hospital.
The statistics released by the HSE show there are almost 5,000 people waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment at the hospital. There has been a dramatic 411% increase in waiting list figures over the past year.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “The huge increases in waiting list times are nothing short of alarming.
“This Government promised that no patient would be forced to wait more than 8 months for treatment, but 4 years later that target has been well and truly obliterated. In February there were 4,947 people waiting more than a year for scheduled procedures at Letterkenny General Hospital. This is completely unacceptable.
“There has been a rapid deterioration in the situation over the past 12 months and it begs the question – where will these waiting lists be this time next year? The health system is becoming more and more dysfunctional and there appears to be no end in sight. Health Minister Leo Varadkar cannot continue to act like an impartial bystander, commenting on a worsening situation without doing anything about it.
“It’s time for a radical rethink of how the health system is managed. This Government has presided over a cull of community hospital beds, the closure of hospital wards, a slash and burn of health resources, gross mismanagement of the health budget over successive years and the downgrading of hospital services in different parts of the country. All of this has pushed more and more patients into the already overburdened hospitals.
“The government’s approach is not working. We need to look at a longer-term system of community based primary care to take patients out the acute hospital system and to catch patients before they become sick enough to need hospital care. I am genuinely fearful that lives are now being put at risk as sick people get sicker while waiting months and months before they get the treatment they need.”