Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Niamh Smyth, says new figures on waiting lists reveal a dramatic increase in the number of children waiting over 12 months for an outpatient appointment.
An analysis of June’s National Treatment Purchase Fund waiting list figures reveals that the number of children waiting over 12 months for an outpatient consultation is now 19,425. In Cavan General Hospital the total number was 387.
She commented, “At the end of June, there were a total of 57,652 children waiting for an appointment – 19,425 of them for more than a year and 11,929 for over 18 months. It’s genuinely shocking that children are waiting so long just to have an outpatient consultation.
“The overwhelming majority of the long waiters are in the three Dublin children’s hospitals, now known as Children’s Health Ireland. In some specialities the wait times are truly staggering. For Ear, Nose and Throat appointments there are 4,037 children waiting over a year. There are also 2,319 waiting as long to see an ophthalmologist. Who knows what long-term problems these children will experience as a result of such long waits?
“Locally, there are 387 children waiting for outpatient appointments in Cavan General Hospital. These figures are replicated in neighbouring counties.
“You might think that these waiting lists would generate a sense of urgency from the Minister for Heath. However, his goal for the year is to ‘stabilise’ them. In other words, no improvement on the shocking increases he has allowed to happen on his watch. There has been a 21-fold increase in the number of children waiting 18 months since Simon Harris became Minister.
“Four years ago Leo Varadkar promised that no-one would wait more than 18 months for an outpatient appointment. Well, today 11,929 have been waiting since at least December 2017. Fine Gael’s only response is to attempt to stabilise a situation that is already critical”, concluded Deputy Smyth.
Please find the Parliamentary Question on this issue attached. Children’s Outpatient lists