Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has hit out against the Government after the revelation that 10,295 children are now waiting over 18 months for outpatient appointments. The Sinn Féin TD expressed concern at the rapid pace of the increases, particularly in the three Dublin hospitals, and said that the current system was clearly broken and endangering the lives of vulnerable children who are not being properly diagnosed.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“The number of children waiting over 18 months for an outpatient consultation has broken the 10,000 threshold with latest figures for May revealing that the list has rocketed to 10,295 – up 833 from May 2016.
“The waiting figures for May, published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), show that 54,308 children are waiting for an appointment – 17,308 of them for more than a year and 10,295 for over 18 months.
“According to the data the three children’s hospitals in Dublin (Tallaght, Temple Street and Crumlin) account for about 80% of the total number of children on the waiting list, but they also account for almost 99% of the children waiting more than 18 months for an appointment. Temple Street has seen a sixteen-fold increase in the number of children waiting over a year and a half to see a doctor over the past 2 years, with Crumlin Children’s Hospital recording only a fraction smaller.
“18 months must seem like forever to a sick child waiting that long to see a doctor.
“There are now more than 707,000 citizens across the State on a waiting list for a medical procedure, that’s around one in every seven people in this State. The current system is clearly broke and the 54,308 children waiting are added proof of this.
“Last week Sinn Féin brought forward a motion to the Dáil which calls on the Government to implement the Sláintecare report in its entirety and to introduce a new and single Integrated Hospital Waiting List Management IT System to reduce waiting lists. The motion was agreed by all parties and none in Leinster House.
“It is now up to the Government to urgently invest in our public health system to help tackle waiting lists and stop diverting public money, as it currently does at the moment, into the hands of private health interests.”