The news today that 530,000 people are now on hospital waiting lists is a further indication that nothing whatsoever has been done to address the chronic problems that we have in our health service and on this issue in particular.
I have been pursuing this issue since I have been elected and the situation is getting worse with every passing month. There are a total of 70,000 people who are waiting over a year to be treated or to have an appointment, and even worse is that fact that 39,000 people are waiting over 15 months, and that is the maximum time set by the Government itself. If it wasn’t such a serious matter it would be a joke. We have had promise after promise from successive Ministers for Health who make fine speeches every couple of months about all the progress they are going to make, yet nothing happens. When is someone going to take this problem by the scruff of the neck and solve it once and for all?
I realise that this problem can’t be solved immediately but surely it is not beyond Minister Harris and his three Ministers for State in the Department of Health and the HSE as well, to come up with a viable plan that will tackle this scandal so that this enormous and totally unacceptable waiting list can be reduced. What will happen is that the Minister will go on the national air waves over the next few days to tell everyone what he plans to do, and then next month the figures will be higher again. It simply cannot continue.
If we cannot look after the most vulnerable people in our society, and that includes those who are ill and worried about their treatment, then we are going nowhere as a country,