‘Inexcusable’ wait for 356 children at University Hospital Limerick

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Three children had been waiting over a year for outpatient appointments at UHL as of the end of June

Three children had been waiting over a year for outpatient appointments at UHL as of the end of June

FIANNA FAIL’s Willie O’Dea has said that the number of children waiting for appointments at University Hospital Limerick is a “damning indictment” of Minister for Health Simon Harris’ record in office.

At the end of June, there were 365 children waiting for more than three months to see a consultant, 114 children waiting for more than six months, and three children waiting for more than a year for an outpatient appointment.

The UL Hospitals Group has told the Leader that appointments have been arranged for the three children. 

According to new figures published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund, there has been a 1,112-patient drop in waiting lists across acute hospitals in Limerick.

In total, there were 42,529 patients waiting for treatment and appointments at University Hospital Limerick, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital and St John’s Hospital in June - a 2.5% drop on May figures. 

University Hospital Limerick was the only hospital to see a decrease in both inpatient and outpatient waiting lists. There were 2,725 inpatients and 30,907 outpatients on a waiting list at UHL.

Regarding the number of children on a waiting list, Deputy O’Dea described it as “simply inexcusable”.

In a statement this Tuesday, the UL Hospitals Group said that since January this year, the number of paediatric outpatients waiting for more than six months at UHL has “reduced in absolute terms by 150 and now represents 14% of patients compared to 25% in January. We will continue to focus on improvements in wait times.  All patients who are waiting are prioritised according to clinical need. UL Hospitals Group will continue to focus on seeing and treating those who have been waiting the longest.

“Of the paediatric patients waiting to be seen, the vast majority (97%) are waiting less than nine months. The proportion of paediatric patients waiting longer than 12 months has reduced from 6% to 0.4% since January 2018 and appointments have been arranged for the three patients waiting over 12 months.”