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Taoiseach's lack of urgency on record hospital waiting lists far from good enough - Mary Lou McDonald TD

28 September, 2021 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald has accused Taoiseach Micheál Martin of lacking urgency when it comes to tackling the record 900,000 people on hospital waiting lists.

At Leaders' Questions today, Ms McDonald raised the alarming situation of more than one hundred thousand children waiting for medical care and she said the Taoiseach's response was "far from good enough".

Teachta McDonald said:

"We have more than one hundred thousand children on hospital waiting lists. This isn't a Covid overhang. In January 2020, there were already 824,000 people on waiting lists.

"The waiting list crisis is a result of decades of bad Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael health policies. 

"The lack of urgency from the Taoiseach is because Fianna Fáil is wedded to a two-tier system that leaves far too many people. It is why we now have the problems with Sláintecare delivery.

"It is why the government has failed to fill on a permanent basis 720 vital consultant roles. It is also why so many of our nurses do not see their future in our health service.

"To tackle waiting lists we need a government that believes in building capacity and creating a health service that works for everyone.

"In order to start getting children off waiting lists and into care, I put it to the Taoiseach that he must urgently fill the 720 consultant roles and target that investment to the areas of Orthopaedics, ENT and neurology.

"I also made it clear that we need to see serious investment in diagnostic capacity right across the system.

"The Taoiseach talked of a plan that we have yet to see. The lack of ambition is staggering, especially given the scale of the crisis. It's far from good enough.

"Our people don’t need more reports or another task force. They don’t need more big announcements that don't go anywhere. Our people need a government that will take urgent action to build capacity and tackle waiting lists."

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