Over 11,500 people are waiting 18 months or more for an outpatient appointment in the north west’s two main hospitals.
According to figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund, a total of 37,225 people are on the outpatient waiting list in Sligo and Letterkenny University Hospitals.
As of the end of July this year, 18,364 people were awaiting an outpatient appointment in Sligo; 5,129 of these are waiting 18 months or more.
That an increase of 2,128 compared to the same time in 2019, before the pandemic, while there were 3,138 fewer patients waiting 18 months or more at that time.
In Letterkenny there were 18,861 outpatient appointments at the end of July 2021 with 6,479 waiting 18 months or more.
That’s compared to 17,672 total appointments in 2019 and 3,533 waiting 18 months or more.
Orthopedics and ENT are the most impacted waiting lists in both hospitals.
President of the Irish Hospitals Consultants Association, Professor Alan Irvine says the Covid-19 pandemic and the cyberattack on the HSE computer systems have ‘unmasked deep fundamental deficiencies in our health system.’
He says staff and consultant vacancies need to be filled to address issues across the health service.
According to figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, there are 99 vacant nurse and midwifery positions in Sligo University Hospital and a further 55 vacant staff positions in Letterkenny University Hospital.
While latest figures from the INMO show 41 patients are waiting on trolleys or chairs in Sligo and Letterkenny University Hospitals today.
15 are Sligo; 2 in the emergency department and 13 elsewhere in the hospital.
A further 26 patients are waiting for a bed in Letterkenny; 10 in the emergency department and 16 elsewhere.
A total of 318 patients are waiting around the country today with University Hospital Limerick the worst hit where 51 patients are waiting for a bed.