O’Dea appalled by waiting list at Limerick hospitals

Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea

LIMERICK Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea has described as “scandalous” the latest outpatient waiting list figures at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) which shows an increase of more than 3000 in the number of patients waiting more that 12 months for an appointment.

He said it was “critical” that Health Minister Simon Harris publishes the bed capacity review as soon as possible and brings forward a costed plan for its swift implementation.

“To have 30,513 people on the waiting list and 8,686 waiting over a year for an outpatient consultation for University Hospital Limerick is just scandalous. This is an increase of over 3,000 year on year – up from 5,521 waiting over a year in December 2016 at UHL”, Deputy O’Dea explained.

Overall, he said, more than 500,000 are now waiting for an outpatient consultation across the country and 40,957 in the University of Limerick Hospital group, which includes St John’s and Croom Orthopaedic Hospitals.

“During his time as Health Minister Leo Varadkar promised that by the end of June 2015 no one would wait longer than 18 months on a list. However, at the end of December 2017, 4139 people were facing waits of more than 18 months in University Hospital Limerick.

“Minister Harris has clearly taken his eye off the ball as he attempts, and fails, to grapple with Emergency Department trolley crisis. Sadly the chaos we have seen in our Emergency Departments in 2017 means that we are likely to see a further increase in 2018.

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“We can’t continue with waiting times like these in University Hospital Limerick or anywhere in this country,” he concluded.

by Alan Jacques

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