More than 1,300 outpatients were waiting for more than 18 months for an appointment in UHG, the longest waiting times in the State, according to figures released by the Department of Health.
The figures also show that some 654 patients lay on trolleys in A&E in 2015, and have led to Independent county councillor and Galway West candidate James Charity, to call for a "significant re-assessment of the delivery of health care services in Galway".
UHG had 1,325 outpatients waiting more than 18 months for an appointment, with Beaumont coming next at 969 and Tullamore at 814. UCHG also had the largest number of inpatients waiting in the State waiting more than 18 months for treatment, while 654 waited on trolleys in the ED in 2015, the second largest number in the State, after Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda.
Citing the declaration by Health Minister Leo Varadkar that no patient would be on a waiting list in excess of 15 months by the end of June 2015, Cllr Charity said, "Fine Gael’s plan for dealing with health care provision has evidently failed". He added that, "the fact 20 patients are currently sitting on trolleys in our Emergency Department only weeks after it was declared unfit for purpose by the Taoiseach is further evidence of this".
Cllr Charity said the fining of hospitals for long waiting lists is not working and "incentivisation rather than penalisation" should instead be considered. He is also calling for a "re-think on emergency service provision", with the introduction of Acute Medical Assessment Units and Local Injury Units for minor injuries to reduce crowded departments in Galway.