Limerick hospitals hit new high point with over 42,000 waiting treatment

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

More than 42,000 people have been on an inpatient and outpatient waiting list at UHL, Croom and St John’s Hospital

More than 42,000 people have been on an inpatient and outpatient waiting list at UHL, Croom and St John’s Hospital

ALMOST 8,500 patients have been waiting for an appointment at University Hospital Limerick for more than a year, new monthly figures show.

And the total number of patients yet to have treatment and appointments at UHL, Croom Orthopaedic and St John’s Hospital has reached a new high, with more than 42,000 people on a waiting list at the end of November.

That is according to new monthly reports released by the National Treatment Purchase Fund, which show that there were 42,333 people put on a waiting list at the end of November.

And commenting on the soaring figures this week, Fianna Fail TD Willie O’Dea has described the situation as “truly shocking”.

“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 November 2017, 3,959 people are facing waits of more than 18 months in University Hospital Limerick and 66,640 are facing a similar wait across the country.  

“It’s clear from these figures that the National Treatment Purchase Fund will have to be extended beyond day cases and start focusing on outpatients too. It’s likely too that the 18 month plus category doesn’t give the full picture. For example, recently the Saolta Hospital group admitted that the waiting time for a routine neurology outpatient appointment in Letterkenny Hospital is actually three years.”

This was 813 more than figures in October, when there were 41,520 patients on a waiting list. In September, there were 41,090 patients on a waiting list.

There are 6,112 patients on a waiting list for more than 18 months, according to the figures, majority of whom are patients at Croom and UHL. There was no inpatient waiting for more than 18 months at Croom, while there were just two patients on St John’s outpatient and inpatient waiting list for over 18 months.

There were 12,441 people on a waiting list for more than a year, across the three hospitals. This is an increase of more than 1,100 in comparison to the previous month.  

There were nearly 4,000 patients waiting for appointments for more than 18 months at UHL, many of whom were outpatients for gastroenterology, neurology, urology and otolaryngology visits.