Laois TD Brian Stanley has outlined the simply staggering amount of people who are sitting on a hospital waiting list in the county.
Speaking recently, Deputy Stanley explained how more than 15,000 Laois people are waiting on either an inpatient or outpatient appointment.
He said: “The constituency that I represent, Laois-Offaly, has witnessed the healthcare system consistently struggle for years.
“This is despite the exceptional work of frontline staff in the health services.
“There are now almost 30,000 people in Laois and Offaly on the Hospital waiting list. This is from a population of 150,000.
“In Laois, 13,411 are on the outpatient list, 2038 on the inpatient list. In Offaly, its 11,572 outpatient, and 1709 inpatient.
“Behind each and every one of those figures is an individual who has suffered with deteriorating health, delayed diagnosis, stress and worry.
“People are waiting for hip replacement and it is unacceptable that they are fed with painkillers year on year, which leads to them developing ulcers and other problems.
“The hospital waiting list crisis can be resolved, but it requires leadership and commitment. This means facing down the vested interests.
“Hospital managers must be running hospitals, not private consultants. That is what happened in Cappagh, if it was traced back to what went on.’’
Deputy Stanley also set out how his party would go about fixing the problem.
He said: “We would introduce a new single, integrated hospital waiting list system to significantly speed up the process and reduce waiting times.
“We would also provide a major capital fund to increase beds, staff and capacity within the system. This is the kind of ambition that we need to see from the Government.
“What is particularly worrying, however, is that we are seeing very little progress from the Government. Sláintecare is one example.
“I pinned a great deal of hope on Sláintecare, as did other members. The report notes that there is still no ‘Waiting List Management and Reduction Plan’ in place. This is despite the national waiting list now standing at 907,648.
“There is an estimated €300m which will go unspent in the health budget this year, despite the Covid pandemic.
“Over 700 consultancy posts are still vacant across the country. I do not see an urgency from the Government. We should be training and promoting doctors into these essential vacancies.
“There should also be public-only contracts for consultants to work in the public system, unlike the current mess where they do private work during their working day in public hospitals. That must stop.
“It is clear to the public that our healthcare system is not fit for purpose. Sinn Féin is committed to providing ambitious solutions that will make progress in the right direction.”