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Sinn Féin publish policies on tackling hospital waiting lists – Louise O’Reilly TD

30 August, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly TD has today published Sinn Féin’s position on tackling hospital waiting lists and highlighted the need for an Integrated Hospital Waiting List Management System.

Speaking at the launch today, Deputy O’Reilly said;

"As of July 2017, waiting lists for surgeries stood at an all-time high of over 687,000 people. This was made up of 86,111 people waiting on inpatient surgery and 493,780 waiting on outpatient procedures amongst others.

“There isn't a family in Ireland currently unaffected by the crisis of hospital waiting lists. Statistically speaking, one in every seven Irish people are on a waiting list across the State. This failure in easing the burden on waiting lists continues to undermine the fantastic work of staff in our hospitals.

“Current waiting lists for outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests, day case and inpatient procedures vary drastically from one public hospital to the next. Patients do not know where they stand on the list or at what speed their list is moving relative to that of other hospitals within reasonable travelling distance.

“The Government have failed abjectly in addressing this spiralling crisis. Each month more people find themselves on hospital waiting lists with little to no sign of progress or improvement. Minister Harris has shown no leadership or direction in his approach to dealing with this issue.

“Sinn Féin have long been arguing for a number of measures to address the waiting list crisis. These include increasing capacity, the recruitment and retention of staff and the provision of a Core Activity Budget to public hospitals.

“Sinn Féin believes that in order to successfully tackle the waiting list crisis a new model to maximise the capacity of the public hospital system and introduce strategic management across all waiting lists is necessary.

“Comhliosta is an integrated IT system used in the Portuguese National Health Service, which would help to achieve new maximum wait times by actively transferring those on the list from hospitals that are failing to meet the target to hospitals that have the ability to offer the service on time.

“Under Comhliosta, patients would see increased funding for hospitals which would be directly linked to reducing public waiting lists, providing a clear incentive to treat more patients.

“Sinn Féin believes that if the waiting list crisis is tackled with an intelligent, coherent, and progressive plan in conjunction with the necessary political will, then waiting list times can be significantly reduced.

“We believe that our policy is the best strategy to tackle the disgraceful waiting lists which we have across the State. As outlined above, there is ample national and international evidence to back this up."

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