Nearly 40% of patients on outpatient lists in one of the country's main orthopaedic hospitals have been waiting over four years to be seen, new figures show.
Figures for the end of January from the Department of Health's Patient Treatment Register (PTR) show that there are currently 10,347 public patients on outpatient waiting lists at at the Mid-Western Regional Orthopaedic Hospital in Croom, Limerick.
Of these, 4,109 have been waiting four years or more to see a consultant in an outpatient clinic in order to get assessed for treatment.
Croom Hospital has the highest figure in the country for the number waiting four years or more for an outpatient consultation.
The hospital with the second highest four-year plus waiting numbers for outpatients is the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, also in Limerick, which has 1,716 patients waiting over four years to see a consultant.
This is followed by Waterford Regional Hospital, which 1,086 patients with a four year plus outpatient waiting time.
The Dublin hospital with highest number of long outpatient waiters is Tallaght, which has 876 patients waiting over two years for a consultation.
Nationally, there are now 9,784 patients waiting over four years for an outpatient consultation in a public hospital.
A total of 8,989 patients nationally are currently waiting between three and four years for an outpatient consultation.
The total number of people on outpatient lists, according to the PTR figures for the end of January, is 386,643.
Health Minister James Reilly has pledged that no patient will be waiting more than a year for an outpatient consultation by the end of 2013.
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