678,000 on waiting lists; Consultants want more investment in the system

Hospital consultants say they want a clear signal of more investment in the system when the Health Minister addresses their conference this morning.

Simon Harris is attending the annual conference of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association in Limerick today.

It comes the day after new figures showed nearly 678,000 people are now on hospital waiting lists.

The IHCA says it is hoping next week's budget will see measures to tackle the problems facing hospitals.

President of the IHCA Dr Tom Ryan says waiting lists are a major issue for his members.

"The fact that patients in increasing numbers are awaiting elective surgery - 80,000 patients waiting for elective surgery and about half a million waiting to see a consultant in an outpatient facility."

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