37,000 patients stuck on Limerick hospital waiting list


Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh

37,000 patients stuck on Limerick hospital waiting list

MORE THAN 37,000 patients were waiting for treatment or appointments in Limerick hospitals last month, according to a new report by the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

The monthly report shows that there were 37,291 inpatients and outpatients on waiting lists at University Hospital Limerick, St John’s Hospital, and Croom Orthopaedic Hospital in December.

The figures show that there was only a slight decrease of 0.89% on waiting lists in November 2016, when there was 37,629 patients recorded.

Major reductions were seen in UHL’s outpatient waiting lists, with significant decrease in ear, nose and throat appointments by 400 patients since November. However, the figure remains one of the highest on all waiting lists, with 3,003 patients waiting for appointments.

In January 2015, former Minister for Health Leo Varadkar set out goals for all hospitals that no person would be waiting for treatment or appointments for more than 15 months, by the end of 2015.

As of December 30, Croom Orthopaedic has reached this rate with its inpatient waiting list, and St John’s has achieved this with its outpatients waiting list.

Just one inpatient was waiting for treatment for more than 15 months at St John’s, while there were 223 inpatients in UHL. There were 3,359 UHL outpatients and 1,381 Croom outpatients waiting for more than 15 months, according to NTPF.

Of the three hospitals, there were 8,469 patients waiting for treatment and appointments for more than a year. Minister for Health Simon Harris commended those involved in the waiting list action plan, which was built to half the number of people waiting for more than 18 months since August.

“This is the culmination of five months of very intensive work by HSE management and hospitals.”

According to nationwide NTPF figures, UL Hospitals Group is the second best performing public healthcare group in the country, behind the Children’s Hospital Group.