A Kerry TD says hundreds of people are in horrific pain and distress while they await appointments in UHK.
Sinn Féin TD Pa Daly was speaking as the waiting lists for a rheumatology appointment in the hospital increased by 25% between January and September.
Deputy Pa Daly says there are now 588 people waiting for a rheumatology appointment in UHK.
He has written to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, seeking his support for additional resources in UHK's Rheumatology Department.
Deputy Daly claims the department is grossly under-staffed at the moment, and the delays are resulting in horrific pain and distress for those relying on the hospital.
UHK has a catchment of over 170,000 people which, according to the Model of Care for Rheumatology, should equate to staffing levels above what's currently provided.
Deputy Pa Daly is seeking the following resources: one full-time consultant, a full-time advanced nurse practitioner and one full-time administrative staff, as the current resource is shared among five consultants and results in the rheumatology consultant undertaking admin work which greatly impacts time spent with patients.
The Sinn Féin TD adds he's hearing serious concerns from inside the hospital there's an imminent risk of the hospital being downgraded; this will result in Kerry people travelling to Cork for diagnoses and treatment.