A waiting lists crisis must be acknowledged and spare capacity in either the public or private sectors must be utilised immediately to reduce record public sector waiting lists, according to the Irish Patients Association.
The group were responding to the latest data for July from the National Treatment Purchase Fund which reveals almost 687,000 patients are waiting for treatment in public hospitals
The longest waiting lists are in Galway University Hospital, University Hospital Waterford and the Mater Hospital in Dublin.
Responding to the figures the IPA said today that the figures reveal a crisis that “needs to be recognised and declared as such by Government”
“The latest consolidated waiting lists for People who do not have private health insurance stands at 686,997 patients.
“This is a crisis and it needs to be recognised and declared as such by Government.
The IPA said they have asked the NTPF ?what immediate measurable interventions are planned to ensure patients can access their their clinical treatment needs on a timely safe basis .
?”Until 686,997 people start to use their voice in a constructive way and ask why they are waiting this situation will be tacitly accepted.
“We urge pubic patients to exert their rights to access their treatment abroad if they have been waiting too long for their treatment”
The IPA statement went on: “What is needed is access to safe timely care today. Lets not be distracted by future star gazing. We know we need better organisation and accountability, investment in people and physical resources and political support to turn our healthcare system around in the long term.
“Where their is any spare capacity today in either the public or private sectors it should be used.”
Reacting to the latest record figures Social Democrats co-leader, Róisín Shortall, said providing a decent health service where people can get timely treatment, on the basis of need, is a basic requirement of any civilised country.
“Yet for people who depend on the public health system, things are getting progressively worse by the month. There is little sense of urgency on the part of the Taoiseach or the Minister for Health about the fact that so many people are denied access to critical services, resulting in huge human suffering and distress, and in some cases, avoidable death.”
“It is patently clear that the stop-start approach to hospital waiting lists has failed dismally. Ad-hoc ministerial initiatives have had no lasting impact. What is required is fundamental reform of the way we provide healthcare and an end to the inefficient and inequitable two-tier system”, said Deputy Shortall.
Ms Shortall said the recommendations of an all-party Committee on the Future of Healthcare should be enacted.
“It is now time for the Taoiseach to adopt the report, establish the Implementation Office and start the process of real reform.”