More than 10,700 patients have been on waiting lists for hospital procedures for more than a year, with 2,507 of them waiting for longer than two years, new figures reveal.
A total of 71,205 people were on waiting lists for day-case and inpatient procedures at the end of last month. They include 28 who have been waiting for pain-relief treatment for more than two years.
Some 343 patients have been waiting more than two years for orthopaedic procedures such as hip and back operations, while 71 women have been on waiting lists for gynaecological treatment for the same duration.
The largest waiting list was at Galway University Hospitals, where 8,971 patients were awaiting inpatient or day-case procedures.
This was followed by Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, which had 6,077 patients on waiting lists, and Beaumont Hospital, where 5,945 patients were awaiting treatment.
The figures were revealed by Health Minister Simon Harris in response to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan. He noted the number of patients on waiting lists had fallen by 17pc from a peak of 86,100 in July 2017.
"I am conscious that waiting times are often unacceptably long and of the burden this places on patients and their families. I am committed to improving waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures," said Mr Harris.
"Since July 2017, the number of patients waiting longer than three months has fallen from just under 58,000 to 44,800 at the end of February 2019. This represents a reduction of 23pc in the number of patients waiting."
He said the HSE planned 1.155 million elective inpatient and day-case procedures in 2019, along with 3.3 million outpatient appointments.