HSE defends waiting list figures and says the number drops each week

There are more than 46,000 people currently on waiting lists for outpatient appointments at Galway University Hospitals but that figure is dropping every week, the HSE has said in a statement.

The health authority was responding to a discussion of waiting lists at this week’s HSE meeting, which heard that in excess of 46,239 people were awaiting treatment at University College Hospital and Merlin Park Hospital.

A total of 39,182 people are on the waiting list for outpatient appointments, and a further 7,057 people are waiting for inpatient procedures at the hospitals.

In a statement this week, the HSE said the numbers of patients waiting for appointments should be viewed in the context of the overall number of patients who attend the hospitals each week. The number of outpatient attendances in 2011 was 217,766 and the hospitals are aiming to treat the same number of people this year.

“This means that on average the hospital treats over 4,000 outpatients each week,” the statement read. “The waiting lists for inpatient and day procedures are reducing each week as a result of clinical and administrative management and the support of the Galway and Roscommon University Hospitals Group management team (comprising Galway University Hospitals, Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe and Roscommon County Hospital ).

“The service priorities for the hospital this year are to improve patients’ access to the emergency departments and to meet the special delivery unit target for inpatient waiting lists which is nine months’ wait time for adults and 20 weeks’ wait time for children,” it added. “This will be achieved by using the treatment capacity and theatre allocations of all hospitals in the group.”

It said there are currently 7,500 patients on the primary target list to be treated by the end of September 2012, and the group has implemented a plan to ensure that this target is met.



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