The latest hospital waiting list figures show that 534,947 patients were waiting at the end of September for inpatient, day case treatment, or to be seen at an out-patient clinic.

The total number is up by around 3,000 on the August figure but the waiting list for gastrointestinal checks is down.

According to the National Treatment Purchase Fund, 78,696 people were waiting last month for inpatient or day case treatment.

A further 17,984 were waiting for a gastrointestinal check, which is a reduction of around 300 on the previous month's figures.

A total of 438,267 people were waiting to be seen at an outpatient clinic, up by over 3,000 on the August figures.

Speaking in Limerick today, the Minister for Health Simon Harris said he expects the HSE to deliver on the commitment to halve the number of people waiting over 18 months for inpatient or day case treatment, by the end of the year.

He said waiting lists remain a major issue but it makes sense to target patients waiting the longest.