NEW figures have revealed that almost one million people have been on Irish hospital waiting lists in the first half of year.
An analysis of various health waiting lists has revealed that a total of 997, 258 patient appointments were outstanding in the first half of 2018.
In June alone, a total of 511,415 people were waiting on outpatient appointments, while another 135,094 people were waiting on diagnostic appointments in April.
Over 148,000 outpatients had been waiting over one year to see a consultant.
The data, which is based on the National Treatment Purchase Fund, also shows that there were 37,229 people waiting for either speech and language therapy or assessment in June of this year.
Fianna Fail’s deputy leader Dara Calleary has labelled the situation as a national scandal.
“The scale of these waiting lists is truly shocking and highlights very clearly the level of demand and the lack of capacity available to meet it,” he said.
“There will be no improvement in the situation unless there is investment in capacity, and as our population continues to live longer, it poses more serious issues for our health service.
“The time for grand plans, staged strategies and PR launches is over, what we need now is action.”
Minister for Health Simon Harris has recently suggested that up to €50 million could be invested in the National Treatment Purchase Fund to tackle the issue.
This has not been confirmed by the HSE.