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Ó Caoláin - Waiting list management deeply flawed

26 November, 2003

Commenting on the Comptroller and Auditor General's Report on the Waiting List Initiative, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said it showed the management of the waiting lists was still deeply flawed and reflected lack of real reform in the health services. He pointed out that the North East region showed a 16% increase in the reported number of patients waiting longer than the target maximum waiting times.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said: "This report is an indictment of the Government's failure to reform the health services. It shows that waiting lists and waiting times are not properly measured. It also highlights the contrast in waiting times between public and private patients. It recommends that waiting time for public patients in public hospitals should be benchmarked against waiting time for private patients in those hospitals. I would go further and urge a single waiting list for all patients, with priority based on need and not on ability to pay.

"The Government's deeply flawed management of the waiting lists is exposed in the eastern region where long waiting times are concentrated in four Dublin hospitals. In the North East region, which I represent, there was a 16% increase in reported numbers of patients waiting longer than 12 months (adults) and six months (children) between 1998 and 2002. This is a disgrace and comes in the wake of the loss of vital acute hospital services in Monaghan and Dundalk hospitals." ENDS

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