Over half a million people are currently on hospital waiting lists in Ireland and it’s a figure that’s been rising every month for the past year. View RTÉ Investigates-Living on the List.
These people, adults and children alike, face the painful reality of waiting months, sometimes years for treatment for a range of conditions from cataracts and scoliosis to spinal and gynaecological conditions.
Just four years ago, the official maximum waiting time target for treatment was said to be nine months. When this was not achieved the Government simply extended the maximum waiting time to 18 months.
More recently, the HSE claimed to have halved the number of patients waiting 18 months.
However, when you look behind those figures, the number of long waiters in December 2016 was more treble the number in December 2015.
Check out the figures here
In an effort to document the reality behind the figures, we followed the experiences of a number of patients from around the country.
Some were given cameras to record events as they unfolded, including Claire Cahill who documents here how her son Darragh’s condition deteriorated while he was waiting for treatment.
Here’s a little of Darragh’s story
Approximately 81,000 patients are waiting for treatment or surgery on the inpatient/day case lists. Their numbers have increase by almost 20% in the past year.
In 'Living on the List' we heard about the profound psychological impact experienced by a number of patients The impact on family can cause further distress for patients on the waiting lists.