An audit of hospital waiting lists has identified long delays in the listing of patients.

The audit by the National Treatment Purchase Fund was commissioned by Minister for Health Simon Harris in response to the RTÉ Investigates programme, 'Living on the List'.

The report looked at a sample of 200 patient cases across five hospitals - Tallaght, the Mater and Crumlin in Dublin, and the South Infirmary in Cork and Cork University Hospital.

In some cases, the audit team found evidence of long delays in the listing of patients, and also retrospective placing of patients on waiting lists.

The audit also found cases across all five hospitals, where patients had bypassed the outpatient service, and been directly listed by a consultant on a waiting list.

This lead to inequity of treatment for patients, the report says.

The audit team also looked at the individual experiences of patients featured in the RTÉ Investigates documentary, which was broadcast earlier this year.

In the case of scoliosis patient Darragh Cahill, Crumlin Hospital has sincerely apologised for the process errors and long waiting times around the management of his treatment.

The Health Service Executive says it is disappointed by the findings of the report.

Minister Harris now intends to extend the audit to more hospitals.