The latest figures which show that 12,602 people are on waiting lists for specialist care or surgery in our hospitals for over 18 months is extremely disappointing. It is clear from these figures that the National treatment Purchase Fund is not working the way it was intended and it will have to be reviewed immediately by the Minister and the HSE. We were promised that there would be a big reduction in waiting lists but it has not happened. If there was no headway made on this huge waiting list during the summer months then the situation is set to get far worse as the winter months come in and people present with various illnesses in even bigger numbers. The Government promised that nobody would be waiting for an outpatient appointment or surgery for more than 15 months but clearly that is not happening. Minister Varadkar must tackle this problem once and for all. The National Treatment Purchase Fund must be used to ensure that more patients can be dealt with in private hospitals as well as public hospitals. We should also look at the possibility of treating patients in hospitals in the North or even in the UK as well. We cannot carry on with a situation where these waiting list figures continue to grow and grow. I will be raising this matter with the Minister at the earliest possible opportunity.
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