Dáil debates

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Hospital Waiting Lists: Motion [Private Members]


7:45 pm

Photo of Imelda MunsterImelda Munster (Louth, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I am curious about the case of Sarah from Wicklow that the Minister has cited. It reflects part of the frustration over the HSE's management of funding and so on. He stated the funding to purchase the replacement joints Sarah needed was gone but the State was nonetheless paying for overheads and staff, with theatres closed. Was that changed there and then? The Minister is nodding. That is a start, because that would be the most frustrating aspect of all.

We have talked about 900,000 people, a figure I heard all the previous speakers mention, but we should stop and think because we all know these people. There are 900,000 people in pain, stress and worry, waiting for their scan, in a small State such as this.

Some 100,000 of those 900,000 are children, with many of them, almost one third, waiting over 18 months. We cannot blame the Covid-19 pandemic or the cyberattack. The number was 870,000 in January 2020. That has nothing to do with the Minister, but it is a damning indictment of the last Government and this Government.

Two weeks ago, at the Committee of Public Accounts, I asked representatives of the HSE about the additional home help hours. There were 5 million additional hours to be delivered this year. The HSE has only delivered 2 million thus far and it is hoping for a further 1.5 million by the end of the year, but who knows about that given that it is the end of September now? Therefore, it is short 1.5 million. Of the 612 public beds that were to be developed in the winter plan for last year, only 288 were delivered. It appears that the Minister is failing to address waiting lists in every sector of the health service, be it for scans, outpatients or inpatients. It is the whole shooting gallery. People have been waiting so long to be seen.

There are over 15,000 people on waiting lists at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and they have been waiting for a long time. The Minister said he was at the emergency department there last week. People are actually getting up and going home to take their chances at home because they have been waiting up to 14 hours. It is crazy, and it has to stop.


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