4,000 Kilkenny patients now on waiting lists to see consultant at St Luke’s Hospital
By COLIN BARTLEY
NEARLY 4,000 people in Kilkenny are waiting to see a consultant for an outpatient appointment at St Luke’s General Hospital, new figures reveal.
And over 600 people have been waiting a year or more to get an appointment with a consultant at our local hospital.
The figures emerged from the monthly National Treatment Patient Fund (NTPF) outpatients waiting list report, which records the number of patients waiting to see consultants in the Irish health system.
There are currently 3,829 people waiting to be seen by a consultant in St Luke’s, of which 601 are waiting 12 months or more, 248 people are waiting 18 months or more.
A total of 1,712 outpatients are waiting up to six months or more to see a hospital consultant.
The departments of Diabetes, General Surgery, Gastro-Enterology, and surprisingly Gynaecology have no patients waiting for an appointment for over 12 months. On the other end of the scale, the Neurology department has 330 outpatients waiting over 12 months, to be seen by a consultant.
Based on NTPF data, a record 569,498 people were awaiting a hospital outpatient appointment at the end of August nationally. This is an increase of 4,669 in a month and by 53,336 (10.3%) since the start of 2019.
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has said that the record number of people on waiting lists for hospital appointments and procedures is leading to a significant deteriorating in patients’ health outcomes and pushing up health costs.
Dr Donal O’Hanlon, IHCA President, commenting on the figures said the crisis in finding consultants to fill positions is significantly adding to the waiting times.
“Patients can experience a deterioration in physical functioning, vitality, social functioning, mental health and general health when waiting longer than three months for a procedure.
“Long waits also contribute to costs and inefficiencies because hospitals must use resources to administer waiting lists, reassess patients’ conditions after their long waits and provide more costly, complex care.
“The consultant recruitment and retention crisis, with one in five permanent consultant posts now unfilled, is a key factor in the long wait times patients face and must be addressed by Government.”