Updated: 06/02/17 : 07:39:24
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RTÉ reveals higher operation waiting lists than believed

The number of patients waiting for operations and procedures is believed to be significantly higher than the official published figures, according to RTÉ Investigates.

RTÉ Investigates - Living on the List, due to be broadcast on RTÉ One tonight, Monday, reveals the painful reality behind the numbers on hospital waiting lists in Ireland.

The programme follows patients who spend months and even years waiting to get an appointment to see a doctor or to have a procedure or operation.

RTÉ Investigates
uncovered evidence that shows there are thousands of patients waiting for operations and procedures that are not included in the waiting list figures published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

As a result the true number of patients waiting for operations or procedures is not open to public scrutiny.

From the evidence uncovered by RTÉ, the number is significantly higher than the official published figures.

Megan Halvey Ryan, 13, from Limerick, suffers from scoliosis. Her spinal curvature has worsened dramatically in recent times. She now finds it almost impossible to attend school.

"Megan just cannot manage the pain. She's missing school. It's affecting her whole life and as a consequence it's affecting the whole family life," says her mother Sharon Halvey Ryan.

"I just want my surgery, it's not fair," said Megan.

"It isn't fair. It's not fair for a child to go through this when it can be rectified with surgery. She doesn't have to be like this," said Ms Halvey Ryan.

"She needs her surgery and [then] this will go away. Her life can start again. And she's not having her surgery, we don't have a date. We're still in limbo," she added.

Meanwhile, Betty Rogers, from Offaly, has a painful and debilitating spinal problem. Her quality of life has drastically diminished as she struggles to cope with the pain. She has been on various waiting lists for surgery on her spine for almost two years.

"I do be in there sometimes in the kitchen and I'd be leaning on the sink. I just have to lean on it to take the pressure off my back with the pain. And then I'd have to come in and sit down," says Ms Rogers.

"Being on a public list is just...the thing is endless. You see no light at the end of the tunnel," says her husband Pat.

RTÉ Investigates - Living on a List will be broadcast at 9.35pm tonight on RTÉ One.

Following the documentary, Claire Byrne Live will debate the issues at 10.35pm with official representatives and families who feature in the programme.