Sinn Féin Councillor Mairéad Farrell has hit out at the Minister for Health over the increase in the number of people on waiting lists at Galway University Hospital (GUH ).
She also accused Minister Simon Harris of “cowardly” behaviour claiming he tried to “bury” the figures, releasing them late on a Friday evening.
“Obfuscation and distraction will not change the fact that the number of people on public hospital outpatient waiting lists in Galway University Hospital increased by some 540 in August, with more than 39,000 people awaiting outpatient treatment at the end of the month. That’s an increase of over 3,000 patients since January,” said Cllr Farrell.
“The facts are plain to see; the Minister for Health is failing in his duty, he is patently out of his depth and this is evidenced by the fact that the number of outpatients waiting for a hospital appointment has continuously grown since he was appointed Minister for Health in June 2016.”
Accusing the Taoiseach and his cabinet of being more concerned about style than substance, she stated that the Government was failing on the issues of health and housing.
“All that Fine Gael has achieved in the area of health is to allow the crisis to escalate to a point where it has almost become normalised. But we will not allow this to become normalised. That is why last week we launched Sinn Féin’s updated policy document on how to address the crisis in hospital waiting lists.
“Sinn Féin believes that in order to successfully tackle the waiting list crisis a new model to maximise the capacity of the public hospital system is necessary alongside the introduction of strategic management across all waiting lists.”
She outlined that an integrated IT system, used in the Portuguese National Health Service, would help achieve new maximum waiting times by transferring those on the list from hospitals that are failing to meet the target to hospitals that have the ability to offer the service on time.
“Under this system, patients would see increased funding for hospitals which would be directly linked to reducing public waiting lists, providing a clear incentive to treat more patients. “We believe that our policy is the best strategy to tackle the disgraceful waiting lists which have been created by this government across the State.”