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Louise O’Reilly TD calls on Minister to stop trying to bury hospital waiting list figures

11 September, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has today written to the Minister for Health Simon Harris to insist that he do more to address the crisis affecting hospital waiting lists and to also request that his Department stop releasing the monthly hospital waiting list figures late on Friday evenings.

 Deputy O’Reilly said:

“I wrote to Minister Harris to convey my immense frustration and disappointment at the manner in which the monthly hospital waiting list figures are being released.

“For some time now the figures have been released late on a Friday evening. I had hoped that after the June figures were released late on the Friday evening of the August bank holiday weekend that this practice might cease, however, I was very much mistaken. This was again the case with the figures for August which were released last Friday evening.

“I implored the Minister to do as his colleague Minister Eoghan Murphy has done with the homeless figures and move away from releasing the data late on a Friday evening. I feel that this is only fair to the Irish people, concerned politicians, journalists, and those in the medical profession.

“I also raised the scandal of hospital waiting lists which increased by some 3,500 in August, with more than 497,000 people awaiting outpatient treatment at the end of the month, and included a copy of Sinn Féin’s most recent health policy document on ending the waiting list crisis.

“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 is necessary alongside the introduction of strategic management across all waiting lists.

“We believe an integrated IT system 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 this system, 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.

“We believe that this policy is the best strategy to tackle the disgraceful waiting lists which have been created by this government across the State.”

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