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Complete lack of accountability in relation to waiting list revelations – Adams

7 February, 2017 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon following revelations by the RTÉ Investigates programme relating to tens of thousands of patients being omitted from official waiting list figures, has said that “there is a complete lack of accountability”.

He said that last night’s revelations were “another example of a health service in a state of perpetual crisis”.

Teachta Adams said:

“Last night, the RTÉ Investigates programme showed that tens of thousands of patients waiting for operations and procedures are not included in the official waiting list numbers published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund. I commend the programme makers.

“It appears that over 80,000 patients have been excluded from official figures. In addition, 81,000 others are on official waiting lists. It is twice the capacity of Croke Park and God knows how many more are waiting to see a consultant.

“I believe the Minister for Health was aware of this scandal. How could he not have known?

“We are talking about the lives and wellbeing of more than 80,000 citizens, some of whom, including children, are languishing in tremendous pain as we saw in last night’s programme.

“It is just another example of a health service in a state of perpetual crisis. It is not just about misleading the public about waiting lists.

“It is about the 587 people on trolleys today, cancelled surgeries, thousands of hospital beds removed and a two-tier system in which health workers, particularly nurses, are not properly treated, and where patients suffer. 

“The plight of patients, especially children who have scoliosis, and the bravery and anguish of their families, captured so graphically on last night's programme, has further eroded confidence in the government, our general politics and our health services.

“There is a complete lack of accountability. The Minister is not accountable. The Taoiseach is not accountable; not while he has the support of Fianna Fáil. We should dispense with the pretence that anyone will get any real answers to any questions put to the Taoiseach today.

“Instead, I want to put a proposal to him for a new single integrated hospital waiting list management system. Sinn Féin’s ‘Better for Health’ policy, published in December 2015 was presented to you and the Minister and the HSE at that time.

“On the issue of the management of waiting lists we have proposed a new system called ‘Comhliosta’. This does away with the current system and introduces one that would generate new maximum waiting times based on a single integrated hospital waiting list system.

“The Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly wrote to Minister Simon Harris on the 17th August last year requesting a meeting to discuss the proposal. She is still waiting for the Minister to reply.

“So, I would urge the Taoiseach to consider this proposition and to come back with a reply.” 

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