The new data shows more than 812,000 patients were on waiting lists at national public hospitals at the end of December.
The Department of Health says the number of waiting lists has fallen by about 4%, or more than 29,800 people, over the past year.
It was significantly less than the waitlist reduction target for the year.
Last year, the government provided €350 million under the Waitlist Program to reduce active waitlists for scheduled acute care by more than 132,000 patients, or 18%.
Of the patients on the current lists, more than 584,600 patients are waiting to be seen at a counselling office for the first time, according to the National Treatment Purchase Fund.
There were also over 81,560 “active” patients awaiting an appointment for hospitalization or day care in the past month.
Patients with in-patient or day-patient treatment are classified separately.
Also in December, 58,000 patients were “suspended” from waiting lists for various reasons, including not being healthy enough to receive treatment.
The total number of waitlists stands at the end of 2021 compared to 831,765 patients on national waitlists.
Dr Matt Sadlier, Consultant Group Chairperson of the Irish Medical Organisation said the waiting list is having a serious impact on patients because a late appointment is delayed care, meaning delayed diagnosis, and could lead to negative outcomes.
The Patients’ Association of Ireland said it was concerned the HSE’s latest special measures to deal with overcrowding would lead to large-scale cancellations of planned surgeries, freeing up beds but also increasing waiting lists.
Mr McMahon said the process is complex and if patients don’t respond, the letters say they could be removed from the waiting list.
He said patients may not be able to say clinically that they no longer need treatment.
The Department of Health said long-wait staff had been significantly reduced over the past year.
The number of patients who exceed the maximum waiting time goal of 12 months for inpatient or day care has decreased by about 3,800 or 22.6%.
The department said inpatient and inpatient waitlists were up 6,105 patients, or 8 percent, and that was due to the significant increase in outpatient activity since September, leading to conversions to inpatient waitlists and hospitalizations.
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