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Burying bad news on waiting lists the Friday Evening of a bank holiday will not help solve crisis - Louise O'Reilly TD

5 August, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said that while the HSE can seek to bury the bad news of the increase of the number of people on public hospital waiting lists by releasing the data on a Friday evening of a bank holiday weekend, it doesn’t distract from the fact that they are failing miserably in reducing waiting list times.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“The HSE can obfuscate and attempt to distract from the fact that the number of people on public hospital waiting lists increased by some 9,000 in July, with more than 579,891 people awaiting treatment at the end of the month, by releasing the data late on a Friday evening of a bank holiday weekend, but that does not change the fact that they are failing miserably to reduce the numbers on waiting lists.

“The numbers just keep increasing and the diligent work of staff in our hospitals is being undermined by the inability of the HSE and the Minister for Health to deal with this crisis.

“The reality is that the Minister for Health Simon Harris is out of his depth and this is evidenced by the fact that the number of outpatients waiting for a hospital appointment has grown by some 67,434 since he was appointed Minister for Health in June 2016.

“Time an time again I have raised this issue with Minister Harris in public and private and how the introduction of a single integrated management system could significantly cut waiting list times, as it has done in other European countries. The Minister assured me he would trial this initiative, but to date there has been very little movement on this.

“The Minister needs to realise that it makes no sense to continue to do the same thing and expect different results. The waiting lists are going up month on month and the Government and the Minister for Health’s plans are not reducing them.

"There has to be a significant change of approach from the Government or else this crisis will never be addressed.

“I am open to helping the Minister to resolve this crisis, this is not about party politics. If the Minister seeks workable solutions from the opposition I am more than willing to help him. 

“We cannot continue in this fashion, people and families lives are being ruined because of this; and while the HSE can seek to bury figures by releasing them on the Friday evening of a bank holiday weekend, the reality  is we have a waiting list crisis and it has to be addressed as quickly as possible."

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