Enda Kenny has been accused of overseeing a “scandalous” 45% rise in hospital waiting lists over the past two years.
The jump includes 4,500 children on hospital waiting lists, almost half of them waiting for more than a year, said Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. “One thinks that when talking about children, we should be moving might and main to eradicate those waiting times and shorten them dramatically.”
In the Dáil, Mr Martin blamed waiting times partly on a lack of urgency to tackle the healthcare crisis. “The situation is truly scandalous and unacceptable, and particularly for children who are waiting far, far too long to get to see a consultant in our three national children’s hospitals, particularly in Crumlin and Temple St.”
Mr Martin said 415,000 people are waiting for outpatient appointments, 62,000 of them longer than a year. Over 75,000 are waiting for hospital procedures.
The former health minister traced the waiting list crisis to the 2011 decision by then health minister James Reilly to “essentially mothball and destroy” the work of the National Treatment Purchase Fund. The body was set up to buy in private medical treatment for those forced to wait on public waiting lists.
Mr Kenny said the treatment purchase fund was being restored, as agreed between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
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