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Letterkenny Hospital delays "alarming and cruel" 17.02.15

MORE than 1,400 people have been waiting over two years for an outpatient appointment at Letterkenny General Hospital, it's been revealed.
And there is a total of some 4,927 people in the county currently waiting to be seen.
The figures, published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund, reveal a 550% surge in the number of patients being forced to wait over a year to be seen. Local T.D., Charlie McConalogue, described the crisis as "unbelievably cruel" to patients in the county.
“The speed at which these waiting lists are growing is frightening. In the space of one year, the numbers waiting for an outpatient appointment have jumped from 755 in January 2014 to 4,927 last month.
"Letterkenny now has the largest number of patients waiting more than two years for an appointment in the whole of the country. This is an unprecedented increase and is completely unacceptable," added the Fianna Fáil T.D.
Letterkenny General Hospital.
He said: “Thousands of people across Donegal are being forced to wait years for a first appointment with a consultant, before being transferred onto another lengthy waiting list if a follow-up treatment or procedure is required. The situation has become so unsustainable that some consultants have closed their waiting lists and are now referring patients back to their GPs."
He said the delays were spreading to all hospital departments and were "extremely distressing" for people with illnesses.
"They are facing into months, and in thousands of cases, years of anxiety before their illness is either diagnosed or treated.
"This is unbelievably cruel and there is an onus on (Health) Minister Leo Varadkar to take control of the situation. Letterkenny General is already under immense pressure as it attempts to deal with this waiting list crisis and I have grave concerns that unless urgent action is taken, these appalling delays will put patient care and outcomes at risk."
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