Over half a million waiting for first out-patient appointment, according to new data

More than half a million people are waiting for their first hospital out-patient appointment.

That is according to latest public hospital waiting list data published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).

According to the NTPF, in May 68,765 patients were waiting for an inpatient or day case treatment with 29,766 having received a date.

64,298 patients have been given dates for a planned procedure, while another 9,412 were still waiting for an appointment.

The NTPF has classified 12,985 patients as 'suspended'.

This means patients who are temporarily unfit or unable to attend an appointment due to clinical, personal or social reasons.

Stephen Donnelly
Stephen Donnelly

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly said that the new figures for people waiting for an outpatient appointment with a consultant are up over 40,000 since the end of last year.

"The Minister for Health said he hoped to stabilise outpatient waiting lists during 2019," said Deputy Donnelly.

"He didn’t say what this meant but I doubt that anyone could define it as an increase of almost 8% in five months.

“The real concern as ever is for the long waiters with an even bigger percentage increase – 18 per cent - in the numbers waiting over 18 months. Some 106,145 have been waiting since at least November 2017."

Mr Donnelly said that "scandal" and "disgrace" are the only words he could use to describe the situation.

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