Galway city and county is amongst those areas with the highest number of waiting lists in the country.

Thousands of people are years waiting for years to have procedures like cataract surgery and tonsillectomies.

One 16-year-old student in east Galway has been waiting for over four years to have her tonsils removed.

Julie Moran is one of three children living in the townsland of Gortveagh in Portumna.

Her parents Alan and Anna, describe themselves as a rural, working class family.

They say private health insurance is not an option for them. They simply cannot afford the cost.

Meanwhile, Julie continues to suffer ill health while she remains on a public waiting list to have her tonsils removed.

It's a procedure that takes little more than half an hour with minimal recovery time. Julie is waiting four years.

She is on regular doses of high strength antibiotics, which leave her immune system weakened and drained.

She suffers from dehydration because she finds it hard to swallow and often cannot eat solid food for days. 

Julie is studying for her Leaving Certificate and has missed 20 school days this year due to chronic tonsillitis.

She often sleeps on the couch because she's too weak to walk to the bedroom.

Julie is an avid camogie player and a member of the local Red Cross.

However, both these interests have been hugely compromised by her ongoing ill health.

Julie's parents describe their daughter's plight as scandalous and point the finger squarely at the HSE and the Department of Health.

They say there is a two-tier system in operation and people who cannot afford private health insurance are being victimised.

Alan and Anna Moran say they are angry and heartbroken to see their daughter suffer unnecessarily at such an important time in her life.

Julie says she is angry, upset and disappointed that she has to wait for years for a minor medical procedure that would give her back her health and well-being.