MORE than 85,000 people were on hospital waiting lists in Cork as of the end of last month, according to the latest National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures.
Nationally, as of July 28, there were 71,669 people on the adult Inpatient/Day Case waiting lists – 6,415 of whom were waiting for treatment in Cork hospitals.
The highest figure in Cork was at the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital (SIVUH) where there were 3,164 people waiting.
This was followed by Cork University Hospital (CUH) where there were 1,532 people awaiting treatment and Mercy University Hospital (MUH) where there were 922.
On the child Inpatient/Day Case waiting lists there were a total of 7,919 children waiting nationally.
Of these, 413 children were waiting for treatment at Cork hospitals.
Meanwhile, as of July 28, there were 540,904 people on the adult Outpatient waiting lists nationally – 69,899 of whom were waiting for treatment in Cork hospitals.
Of these lists, the highest in Cork was at CUH where there were 33,367 people awaiting outpatient appointments, followed by SIVUH (22,008) and MUH (7,039).
On the child Outpatient waiting lists, there were 86,952 children waiting nationally - 8,942 of whom were waiting for treatment at Cork hospitals.
The latest figures come as consultants voiced concern that years of underinvestment has led to unacceptably long waiting times.
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) said that these long waiting lists existed “long before Covid”, and that the impact of the pandemic “has been to exacerbate an already very significant problem”.
“Irish patients are not getting the hospital treatment that they need.
“Many thousands are being added to an ever-increasing waiting list for assessment or treatment, which is leading to poorer outcomes,” IHCA President, Professor Alan Irvine said.
“This is unfortunate and unacceptable.
“Behind every statistic is a person and a family seeking healthcare, often while experiencing pain, suffering and the psychological distress at not knowing when they will be able to receive treatment.
“Sadly, this can also be a matter of life and death.” Prof Irvine called on the Government to act urgently to address “the twin deficits of a shortage of consultants and a lack of sufficient public hospital capacity to resolve the record waiting lists” Ireland continues to experience.
“Without addressing the shortage of consultants, hospital beds, theatres, diagnostic and other facilities, the Government will not address the core problems facing our public hospitals.
“In particular, it is imperative that the 882 approved consultant posts that are vacant or filled on a temporary, locum or agency basis are filled as needed with permanent appointees if we are to effectively address the record public hospital waiting lists.
“To solve the recruitment and retention crisis, the Government needs to end the pay discrimination imposed on consultants contracted since 2012 to recruit and retain the increased number of hospital consultants required to provide timely care to patients,” he added.