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Waiting lists in OLOL a matter of ‘great concern’ – Adams

7 May, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

The highest ever numbers on the outpatient waiting list was recorded in April.

The waiting lists for Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda are significant.

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has expressed his “grave concern at the numbers of sick citizens who are forced to wait for long periods on waiting lists in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.”

The Louth TD said:

“On Wednesday morning there were 465 citizens on trolleys in Emergency Departments across the state. Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda had the second highest with 41 patients waiting. The previous day Tuesday OLOL had the highest number in the state with 48 patients waiting on trolleys.

These figures are as bad as any we witnessed during the winter.

There is also a serious problem with waiting lists for outpatients and inpatient procedures in OLOL.

An examination of statistics on the National Treatment Purchase Fund reveals that at the end of April there were 11,386 outpatients attending Our Lady of Lourdes. Of these 4087 had been waiting up to three months; 2432 had been waiting for 3-6 months; 3599 were waiting 6-12 months and 1267 have been waiting between one and two years. One person was still waiting after two years.

Of those waiting between one and two years 94 were gynecology patients, 552 were ENT patients and 56 were for general surgery.

Inpatient figures make equally grim reading. At the end of the month here were 1242 patients waiting for an inpatient procedure. 286 of these have been waiting for more than a year.

These waiting list figures are unacceptable. In a properly managed and resourced health service patients should not have to wait as long as these statistics indicate for important medical procedures.

The scale of the problem within the health service is evident in the report this week by the Irish Nurses and Midwives' Organisation which revealed that between January and April of this year there were 35,135 occurrences across the state of patients on trolleys.

That is an increase of 26% on the same period last year and the worst figure since the INMO started keeping records.

Across the state we now have the highest ever recorded number of citizens on the outpatient waiting list.

At the end of April there were 412,422 citizens on the outpatient waiting list.

Of these 72,270 have been waiting for more than a year.

It is also expected that official figures to be published shortly will show that the HSE will be over budget by at least €100 million for the first three months of the year.

Clearly the government’s health strategy is not working.

Key to tackling this problem is more investment, including additional bed capacity. There is a need to reopen many of the 2,000 beds closed in the last four years and the recruitment of more nurses to replace the 5,000 nursing posts that were cut as a result of government policy.

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