Last night, RTE released a investigative documentary that was centered on the hospital waiting list scandal.
–Click Here – Living On The List – RTE documentary via RTE player
The RTE documentary ‘Living on a list’ featured patients who spend months and in some cases years waiting to get an appointment to see a doctor or to have a procedure or an operation. The heart whelming journeys of individuals and that of their families as they waited to receive treatment in the Irish public health system, who were willing to document the long wait on hospital waiting lists.
The program confirmed fears that many patients are not even documented in the monthly inpatient and day case waiting lists, which currently stand at 81,015, according to the RTE Investigates programme.
leading orthopedic surgeon Martin Murphy warned that some of his patients are in such pain they have spoken of “jumping off a building”.
In an interview with the Irish Independent leading orthopedic surgeon Martin Murphy warned that some of his patients are in such pain they have spoken of “jumping off a building”.
The true number of patients who are in the queue for surgery and other procedures is over 130,000. It was also revealed that 535,000 people are now on various hospital waiting lists for appointments / procedures, which is an increase of over 94,000 people when compared to this time last year.
In an interview with the Irish Examiner, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny denied that figures for hospital waiting lists are deliberately being massaged to hide their true extent.
Mr Kenny said that has been the case for 15 years, and was not engineered by the current government. Adding that since the National Treatment Purchase Fund started in 2002 this was always the way that these figures were presented, according to best international standards at that time.
Finally stating “So people who just get a call to say that they are going to have an operation or treatment, and those who have had one treatment but need a second, were never counted on these figures.”
However, he admitted last night’s RTÉ documentary on hospital waiting lists was “hard to watch”. The party’s health spokesperson Alan Kelly said: “This has been going on for some time, people have been misled.
“The public have been given a fraud here in relation to the volume of people that are waiting and he needs to outline over a short period of time what has happened, how long it has been happening, why it has happened,
“It is not good enough to say that there is some best practice in place in relation to formulating lists.”
The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) defended its method of measuring the numbers waiting.
But it said a review is now under way following an exposé in the ‘RTÉ Investigates – Living on the List’ programme aired last night.
In a statement issued by Simon Harris he stated “The personal stories of the people waiting for treatment are deeply moving and the experiences they describe are absolutely inexcusable.
I am keenly aware of this burden and it is for this reason that last summer I requested that the HSE put in place an Action Plan to halve the number of patients waiting over 18 months for treatment.
However, I think it is important to note that, while there are still too many people who have to wait too long for their treatment, as of last December, only 2% of patients were waiting longer than 18 months for treatment. 93% were receiving treatment within 15 months and over half were receiving treatment within 6 months.”
This comes after Minister Harris announced that he would be investing €20 million into cutting the waiting lists for hospitals.
In a means to garner social media attention of this issue a Facebook page ‘Cut The List‘ was set up by mother of patient to confront Minister for Health Simon Harris has reached over 1,700 members in 24 hours.
It is great to see the public service broadcaster (RTE) investing money into quality investigative journalism.