Fianna Fáil Senator and Seanad Group Leader, Catherine Ardagh says patients across Dublin are angry and frustrated following revelations about hidden waiting lists within the health service.
Following a Prime Time Investigates programme aired on Monday night, it emerged that thousands of patients, including children, waiting for procedures were not included in official lists published by the HSE.
Speaking in the Seanad on the issue yesterday, Senator Ardagh said, “There is no one who cannot have been affected by the cases that were highlighted in the Prime Time programme last night. Young children in tears, women in chronic pain and men on the verge of suicide.
"The documentary did not make for easy viewing, yet there are hundreds, possibly thousands more people going through a similar scenario as they languish on a hospital waiting list. This suffering is simply not acceptable.
“What is even more disturbing is the fact that the number of people on these lists is significantly higher than we were led to believe.The programme exposed the fact that there are thousands of additional patients waiting for operations who are not included in the published lists, yet the Health Minister has been unable to explain why this is," added Senator Ardagh.
“The published lists already document a crisis situation, but these hidden lists identify a much more serious problem. The situation is now completely out of control. Patients and their families are already deeply frustrated. These revelations have only served to increase their anger and undermine their confidence in the system.
“I have continually voiced my support for the National Children’s Hospital and see it as a necessity in easing the lengthy waiting lists facing children suffering from debilitating ailments, particularly those with scoliosis.
“Now that a new orthopaedic theatre in Crumlin is complete, it should have only been expected that it would be fully operational to immediately help ease the suffering of children living with the agony of scoliosis but left on waiting lists. Yet, due to this government’s lack of forward planning and pro-active vision this new theatre is short of nurses and remains closed.
“The recruitment of new nurses must be an absolute priority and other issues surrounding short staffing, costs of implants and other bottlenecks within the system must be immediately addressed.
“Fianna Fáil has pushed for the reinstatement of the National Treatment Purchase Fund, and I welcome the Government’s renewed commitment to the scheme, however, Minister Harris must come up with tangible solutions to fix the problem. Shame and despair will not alleviate this crisis and end the suffering for those living on a waiting list.”