More than 8,000 children waiting for appointments at Cork hospitals 

More than 8,000 children waiting for appointments at Cork hospitals 

Figures published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) — the first such figures published since the cyberattack on the HSE — show 8,033 children were waiting for an appointment at a Cork hospital last month. Picture Dan Linehan

MORE than 8,000 children were waiting for outpatient appointments in Cork hospitals at the end of last month.

Figures published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) — the first such figures published since the cyberattack on the HSE — show 8,033 children were waiting for an appointment, while more than 2,500 were on the waiting list for an outpatient appointment for at least one year.

Cork University Hospital (CUH) had the highest number of children awaiting outpatient appointments, with a total of 5,326, while there were 1,968 on the list at the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital (SIVUH), 547 at the Mercy University Hospital (MUH), 152 waiting in Mallow General Hospital, and 40 at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH).

Meanwhile nationally, over 7,900 children were awaiting inpatient appointments at the end of July — these figures included more than 400 children in Cork.

Adult waiting lists 

According to the latest NTPF figures, at the end of last month, there were almost 65,000 adults awaiting outpatient appointments in Cork hospitals.

There were 30,721 awaiting appointments at CUH, while 20,789 were waiting at SIVUH.

A total of 7,020 were awaiting appointments at MUH, 2,722 at Mallow General Hospital, and 2,067 at CUMH.

In Bantry General Hospital, 1,645 people were awaiting an out-patient appointment.

Of those waiting at CUH, 13,119 adults were waiting for at least 12 months while 9,853 were waiting for the same period at SIVUH.

At MUH, over 3,350 were on the waiting list for at least one year, out of the total of 7,020 awaiting an out-patient appointment there.

During the same period, 2,674 adults were waiting for in-patient appointments at SIVUH, 1,143 waiting at CUH, 1,093 adults waiting at MUH, 586 at CUMH, 219 in Mallow, and 171 at Bantry General Hospital.

National picture 

According to the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA), a record 652,498 patients were awaiting an out-patient appointment with a consultant across the country at the end of last month.

This was an increase of 8.5% on the same time last year.

It said more than 268,500 of these are waiting longer than a year, up 15% since July 2020 and a seven-fold increase over the past seven years.

The IHCA expressed concern at the number of people now waiting for an appointment to be treated or assessed in public hospitals.

The association warned in recent days that the waiting lists were due to reach record levels and were likely to worsen in the coming months as more people who have put off seeking care because of concerns about Covid-19 will present for care.

It said it fears the waiting lists are inexorably climbing to the 1 million mark.

The IHCA said the low number of consultants, due to the difficulty in filling permanent consultant posts, is the root cause of the “unacceptably long” waiting lists, which totalled more than 900,000 for the first time.

IHCA vice president Rob Landers said that members, as hospital consultants, want to help to alleviate distress felt by patients and provide the care they require.

“But in order to do this effectively, the consultant recruitment and retention crisis must be addressed effectively to fill the one in five permanent consultant posts that are currently vacant or filled on a temporary basis,” said Professor Landers.

He added that the success of the proposed new consultant contract negotiations will be critical to filling these posts and to the survival of the public health system.

The South/South West Hospital Group was contacted for comment.

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