Offaly councillor and RENUA Ireland leader John Leahy has lashed out over the huge increase in people waiting for hospital treatment for more than a year in Offaly and Laois.
The up-to-date figures reveal that 848 patients, diagnosed as being ill in Tullamore are waiting for twelve or more months for an in-patient or day case procedure.
Mr Leahy said: "It is an inhumane failure of governance that almost a thousand people are waiting for more than a year for treatment of a diagnosed problem."
He remarked that the rate of increase paints and even starker picture.
"It has almost doubled from 467 in Midlands Hospital Tullamore in 2016 whilst the rate of increase in Portlaoise went from 12 to 99 in a year," Leahy claimed.
"This is hardly symptomatic of a system curing itself or a health service that is being reformed. These figures are instead symptomatic of a system that is deteriorating. The numbers on this list are not just statistics. These are citizens, our friends and family members waiting in pain for the treatment of illnesses that have been diagnosed for years," he continued.
"This is a heartless failure of governance by the state, the government and the HSE," Leahy stated.
"How is it possible that this crisis has escalated without being responded to or even noticed? Twelve months and more is a lifetime for people in pain; who see a resolution to their problems being snatched away by a failed system."
"We need to hear from Minister Harris with regard to how he plans to deal pro-actively with a real crisis, if such plans exist. The waiting has to stop and Mr Harris has to get off his Twitter machine and provide leadership and a plan now," Leahy concluded.
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