Hospital lists fall but 568k still in queues
Hospital outpatient waiting lists have recorded the first drop this year - but 568,769 are still in the queue to see a specialist.
Figures for September show a monthly drop of 729 in the number waiting for a first-time appointment at an outpatient clinic.
There are 106,418 who have been waiting for at least a year-and-a-half, compared to 106,786 in August.
At the end of last year the outpatient waiting list stood at 516,162 and it has continued to climb since then until this minor respite.
The latest figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) show that at the end of September, some 67,985 were waiting for surgery, compared to 68,390 in August.
There were 22,197 patients waiting to receive an appointment for their GI endoscopy last month, down from 22,544 in August.
The NTPF was allocated €100m in this week's Budget, an increase of €25m on 2019.
The funding will go toward purchasing treatments and appointments for public patients in private and public hospitals.
A spokesman for the NTPF said: "The additional funding will be used to benefit patients throughout the country, as the NTPF maintains its strong focus on improving waiting times for inpatient and daycase treatment, while also significantly increasing its focus on outpatients.
"The NTPF will also be in a position to support public hospital emergency departments."