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Minister misses moved goalposts – Ó Caoláin

9 July, 2015 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin’s Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described the fact that 2,000 public patients are waiting longer than 18 months to see a specialist or to be admitted for surgery as ‘clear evidence’ that Varadkar’s measures on waiting lists have failed.

Deputy Ó Caoláin stated:

“These new targets, brought in by Minister Varadkar, are now also being broken. These new targets were essentially a capitulation, an increase of a waiting target from 12 months to 18 months. What was the aim of this? It appears it was simply a cosmetic exercise to manipulate the public perception of the numbers waiting on lists. The Minister has clearly missed the goal after he conveniently moved the posts to suit himself.

“We know that over 400,000 people are on out-patient waiting lists and that 8,139 patients are on surgical lists for more than a year. The only way to truly address these waiting lists is to recruit adequate numbers of consultants. Approximately 200 new medical consultants are required to fill vacancies which currently exist and those which will arise over the next twelve months. We currently have 2,713 consultants.

“The Hanley Report in 2003 recommended that by 2012 there should be of the order of 3,600 consultants in place. This massive shortfall has created inhumane waiting lists and untold suffering for those awaiting essential surgeries and procedures.

“What will the Minister do now to address the great shortage in consultants that is evidently causing much hardship?” 

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