Viewers of ‘RTÉ Investigates - Living on the List’ were shocked to hear of people on hospital waiting lists in Ireland contemplating suicide as they were living in constant pain.
"It's like a toothache 24-7 for a year, two years, three years. That’s what it's like. That’s why people are contemplating suicide."
"It's like a toothache 24-7 for a yr, 2 yrs, 3 yrs. That’s what it's like. That’s why people are contemplating suicide" #RTEInvestigates— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) February 6, 2017
crying watching #RTEInvestigates now..people shouldn't feel like suicide is easier than waiting for an appointment— 🌻 (@jxnn76) February 6, 2017
Driving people to suicide!! This is the Irish health service today.This is incredibly sad and a shame on our govt.😢#RTEInvestigates— aodhán breathnach (@dlkagw) February 6, 2017
When people are contemplating suicide to because of excessive waiting lists it is a damning indictment of the system #RTEInvestigates— Siobhán de Paor (@SiobhandeP) February 6, 2017
The treatment of children with scoliosis also touched viewers, who heard 7-year-old Darragh Cahill's story. Darragh was operated on 15 months after being placed on a waiting list.
Patricia Connolly, who is waiting for gynocological treatment in Cork University Hospital, told the programme she is "always sore." She has been waiting two years just to have her condition diagnosed. When she receives a diagnosis she could wait another 18 months to receive treatment.
The programme has led to calls for the Government and the HSE to intervene.
Minister for Health Simon Harris responded to the programme, saying he will "work might and main to make sure that by the end of this year we have dramatically reduced the length of time that patients wait in this country."
This follows an earlier statement issued by the Minister:
"The personal stories of the people waiting for treatment are deeply moving and the experiences they describe are absolutely inexcusable.
"I am keenly aware of this burden and it is for this reason that last summer I requested that the HSE put in place an Action Plan to halve the number of patients waiting over 18 months for treatment.
"However, I think it is important to note that, while there are still too many people who have to wait too long for their treatment, as of last December, only 2% of patients were waiting longer than 18 months for treatment. 93% were receiving treatment within 15 months and over half were receiving treatment within 6 months."