Press Release

Statement by Minister Varadkar on diagnostic waiting times

“The information provided to Deputy Billy Kelleher was given to him by the HSE on foot of a request from my Department. Clearly, there was no attempt to conceal this information. The HSE provided it. As Minister for Health, I have to argue for more resources for our health service. I have no interest in making things looks any better or worse than they really are.

“The HSE plans to publish information on waiting times for diagnostics again in the future but it is important the information is accurate and comparable across hospitals, as currently it is not.

“It’s also important to bear in mind that many people waiting for a scan are also waiting for a hospital appointment or surgical procedure. Rather than under-estimating the number of people waiting, it’s often the case that the same people are often counted several times.
“A row over statistics misses the point, in my view. We all agree that waiting times for public patients are unacceptable. I am working with the HSE on plans for next year for a special focus on very long-waiters.

“Sadly, long waiting times for public patients have been a feature of our health service since the 1980s. In fact when Fianna Fáil was in office, many waiting times were much worse and statistics were not even collected, never mind published.”