Minister for Health Simon Harris has told Fine Gael TDs and Senators that he "intends to shine a light" on management in the Health Service Executive after this week's revelations about waiting lists.

An RTÉ Investigates programme, Living On The List, broadcast this week revealed that the number of patients waiting for operations or medical procedures was significantly higher than published, and highlighted shortcomings in the way waiting lists were being processed.

The issue dominated tonight's Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting with calls for changes in the law to allow health service employees to be dismissed if they were not fulfilling their duties, and for more accountability from the HSE.

Mr Harris warned that if management did not "measure up", as he put it, they would be removed from their role.

Parliamentary party chair Martin Heydon told the meeting that Mr Harris had the strongest mandate from Fine Gael to hold the HSE to account.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund today published the latest "official" waiting lists on its website, covering January 2017, which show there are 545,147 people waiting for inpatient, day case, endoscopy, or outpatient care.

It has also separately issued details of the unpublished January figures for two waiting lists, the existence of which was revealed earlier this week by RTÉ Investigates.

These add 87,038 to the official January list, bringing the total figure to 632,185 patients.

In January, there were 26,108 patients and 60,930 patients on these two previously unreleased lists.

These lists are: the "Pre-Admit List" with 26,108 patients on it in January (most are scheduled to have their treatment within six weeks), plus the "Planned Procedures List" with 60,930 patients on it in January, many with indicative dates.

A large number of this list are people due back for an annual endoscopy check and so not regarded by the HSE as "waiting".

Today's official figures show a moderate rise in lists in January for inpatient, day case, endoscopy and outpatient care of 9,173 on December.

The published January waiting list of 545,157 is:

  • Inpatient/Day Case 82,005
  • Outpatients 445,701
  • Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 17,441

The NTPF publishes lists each month, covering the previous month.