December 2, 2023

‘An unacceptable situation’ – 43,500 now on waiting lists at regional hospital

A massive 43,500 people – almost one and a half times the population of Kilkenny city – are now languishing on waiting lists at the regional hospital.

There are almost 5,000 people awaiting inpatient or endoscopy proceedures at University Hospital Waterford (UHW), which has seen its outpatient and day case waiting lists more than double since 2015.

UHW also has the largest ENT and Dermatology lists in the entire country as thousands of people wait for an outpatient appointment with a consultant, according to latest figures published this week.

It comes as one-in0four approved permanent hospital consultant posts at UHW are not filled as needed, which is the “root cause of delays in providing timely care to patients”, according to the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA).

IHCA Vice President and Consultant Histopathologist at UHW Prof Rob Landers: “The number of people waiting for hospital treatment at University Hospital Waterford is equivalent to almost the entire population of Waterford city and suburbs.

“This is an unacceptable situation which is being driven by a severe shortage of hospital Consultants and hospital capacity deficits.”

Mr Landers urged the Government to “make good on its promise to deliver the extra Consultants, extra beds and extra hospital facilities so badly needed to meet the healthcare needs of the 50,000 people currently waiting to be assessed or treated at UHW.”

The IHCA criticised the “excessively long waiting times people in the South-East are experiencing” before being treated or assessed by a consultant at UHC.

It added this is despite “very significant efforts by local management and hospital Consultants” to reduce waiting times through National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) initiatives.

Latest figures from the NTPF confirm that there are 43,558 people awaiting an outpatient appointment, 4,502 waiting for inpatient or day case treatment, and a further 476 patients on a waiting list for a gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy at UHW. Of these, more than four in 10 (21,394 or 44%) have been waiting for longer than a year for assessment or treatment.

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