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Waiting list reduction of just 1% proves government's 2022 plan failed – David Cullinane TD

13 January, 2023 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has said that Minister Stephen Donnelly’s Waiting List Action Plan for 2022 has failed, based on new data from the National Treatment Purchase Fund released this evening.

Teachta Cullinane said that the total number of patients on waiting lists was reduced by only 1% in 2022, despite the Minister for Health’s €350 million waiting list action plan. 

He said that the waiting list plan failed because the government parties have consistently failed over 20 years to build enough hospital capacity, train enough healthcare workers, and move the focus of care onto primary, community, and preventative healthcare. 

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The Minister launched his Waiting List Action Plan for 2022 last year with great fanfare.

“His plan has failed and has only reduced waiting lists by 1%. The total number of patients on all hospital waiting lists has only been reduced by 9,000, from 879,277 in December 2021 to 870,097 in December 2022.

“This is a spectacular failure which falls far short of the reduction of 132,309 which was sought in the plan.

“The reasons for this failure are clear. The government parties have consistently neglected the health service. We have fewer acute inpatient beds than in 1996. They have not put in the capacity or trained enough healthcare workers.

“Our hospitals cannot perform enough procedures due to a lack of theatre capacity. The shortage of hospital consultants means patients are not being seen for appointments. The shortage of beds means appointments are being cancelled and patients are left on trolleys.

“Primary and community care is bursting at the seams. We have nowhere near enough community doctors or nurses, recovery beds, or home care assistants.

“The Minister has failed to put enough capacity into our hospitals, to address the recruitment and retention crisis in the health service, to train more healthcare professionals, reform the health service, or move the focus of care from hospitals to the community and prevention.

“If the health service is to be fixed, it needs a multi-annual plan to boost capacity, develop the workforce, and implement urgent reforms. None of this has been forthcoming from the Minister.”

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