Friday 22 September 2017

Blind man faces four-year wait for consultant

Stefan Grace faces a four-year wait for an appointment with a urologist at UHW Photo: Andy Jay
Stefan Grace faces a four-year wait for an appointment with a urologist at UHW Photo: Andy Jay

Ian Begley

A blind man awaiting an appointment with a urologist at the south-east's largest hospital has been told he will not be seen for at least four years.

Stefan Grace, from Tipperary, recently got a letter from University Hospital Waterford (UHW) telling him that he had been placed on a waiting list to see a urology consultant.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Grace said he was prioritised as an urgent case and was "shocked" to learn that he would not be seen for more than four years.

"I'm very angry that these waiting lists are so long, especially since money has been put into this hospital over the last few years," he said.

"It's really a white elephant and a bloody scandal. I'm very worried that I will have to wait for so long, especially since I don't know what's wrong with me.

"These huge waiting lists are also having a detrimental effect on people's mental health."

The HSE admitted urology services at UHW were "high risk" because of "unprecedented demands" since the services started there less than two years ago. However, any attempt to clear the backlog of patients would require a "special initiative," or extra funding from the Government to pay for new consultants, support staff, and additional operating theatre and bed capacity.

Meanwhile, contingency plans by the HSE to use extra capacity within South Tipperary General Hospital to deal with some of the patients waiting for urology services at UHW may also have to be put on hold.

It follows the recent Tipperary announcement that available, currently unused, space is to be used as a trolley bay to help alleviate the A&E crisis.

Irish Independent

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