Overall national waiting lists for hospital care have continued to rise, with over 684,800 patients now waiting.

The figures for October are up by about 6,000 patients compared to the 678,800 national total for the previous month.

The figures are from the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Of the 684,800 total waiting to be seen or treated, over 98,900 were waiting for inpatient, or day case treatment - down on the previous month.

There were 27,600 waiting for a gastrointestinal check, an increase on the September figure.

Over 494,530 were waiting to be seen by a consultant at an outpatient clinic, slightly down on the September figure.

A further 63,675 people were scheduled for follow-up care soon, having had initial treatment already, an increase on the previous month.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Waiting four years for a half-hour procedure
Fergal Bowers: The Wait Goes On

Minister for Health Simon Harris said it was the third month in a row that there was a fall in the number of people "actively" waiting for a hospital operation or a procedure.

He said that 2,000 fewer people were waiting in this area.

Mr Harris also said that the number waiting for an outpatient appointment was also down.

He said that the figures were still too high and there was a lot more work to do, including validating waiting lists.

Mr Harris said there was an extra €10 million available between now and the end of the year to cut waiting lists.

This money will be particularly targeted at more hip, knee, cataract and tonsils procedures.

In August, the National Treatment Purchase Fund changed the way the waiting list figures are presented.

The figures now detail patients who have a date set to be seen, patients waiting for a date, and suspended patients - those who are temporarily unfit or unable to attend due to clinical or personal reasons.

Included in the suspended list are patients whose treatment is being outsourced to another hospital, possibly a private hospital.

The NTPF also publishes a list of what are called "planned procedures" - a list of patients who have had an initial episode of care and who are waiting for further treatment.

The HSE said this evening that a key priority is tackling long patient waiting times and ensuring timely access to treatment and care for patients.

It said that this year's plans to reduce waiting times for patients have exceeded targets. 

Over 31,600 patients have come off the inpatient/day case waiting list since February.

The HSE said that almost 100,000 people had come off the outpatient waiting list.