76,666, to be precise. That is the shameful number of people currently on waiting lists across the country. Nearly 77,000 people anxiously waiting for a phone call or a letter from the crumbling bowels of the HSE to finally confirm their appointment.
The Minister for Health has said that he is ‘working on it’, but the stark truth is that numbers have ballooned by almost a third since this time last year.
Out of the 41 acute hospitals currently in operation, a whooping 33 reported a rise in waiting lists for adults and children.
The majority of people are waiting for inpatient, or day case treatments. The number has risen by more than 16,000 compared to January last year.
In a somewhat inadequate response to the news, Leo Varadkar has acknowledged that waiting times are “going in the wrong direction”.
Meanwhile, the Irish Medical Organisation has claimed that rising numbers on waiting lists will only be alleviated by a significant investment in hospital capacity and a sharp increase in available beds.