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OPD waiting lists continue to increase

The number of people awaiting an outpatient department (OPD) appointment here has increased further, jumping by almost 10 per cent from March to September.

More than 612,000 patients are waiting  for OPD care compared to 557,000 in early March, according to new data published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).

Over 149,000 individuals or around a quarter of those awaiting an OPD visit are waiting over 18 months, while more than 140,000 are waiting up to three months.

According to the HSE, outpatient clinics are currently aiming to reach 70 per cent of normal capacity levels, with ongoing restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Data compiled by the NTPF for the month of September reveals that the South/South West Hospital Group has the largest number of people waiting, at more than 127,000.

Almost 30,000 patients are awaiting an OPD appointment at Cork University Hospital while the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital has a waiting list of over 43,000.

They are closely followed by the Ireland East Hospital Group, which has almost 120,000 awaiting on OPD appointment.

An analysis of data by specialty shows that the areas with the longest OPD waiting list are orthopaedics (75,000), otolaryngology (68,000), dermatology (46,000) and ophthalmology (44,000).

Separately, the numbers waiting for inpatient and day case procedures at the end of September was over 75,000, more than 8,000 of whom are waiting over 18 months. The figure represents a slight reduction on the previous month (August), when 77,000 people were on the waiting list.

Around 49,000 of these people are awaiting day case procedures while more than 18,000 are inpatients.

According information on the numbers waiting for inpatient and day case procedures by specialty, the longest waiting lists are for general surgery (12,000), urology, (10,000), orthopaedics (9,900) and ophthalmology (8,500).

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