Thursday 27 July 2017

Delays in treatment are the longest for patients needing eye, hip surgeries

Galway University Hospital is the worst affected for outpatients. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Galway University Hospital is the worst affected for outpatients. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The largest waiting lists across the country are for eye surgery and orthopaedics, which would cover hip and knee transplants.

At the end of December there were 12,580 awaiting eye surgery including cataract removal, and 11,272 for orthopaedic operations.

There were 1,317 people waiting for more than 15 months for an eye procedure, while 433 people waiting for orthopaedic procedures faced a similar delay.

Other patients in need of other forms of surgery also face long waiting lists.

Those who need ear, nose, and throat surgery face a waiting list of 7,385.

Other specialties with long queues are gynaecology, cardiology, pain relief, plastic surgery, urology, vascular surgery and respiratory medicine.

When it comes to outpatient waiting lists, the worst is Galway University Hospital with 34,807 waiting. The next is the Mater Hospital with a list of 26,077 and Beaumont Hospital which has 24,410.

Nationally, waiting lists have soared in the past year.

The numbers waiting for surgery have risen from 16,390 to 81,015.

The list of people needing an outpatient appointment has also risen from 383,713 to 437,558.

And the list of people needing an endoscopy has gone up from 16,390 to 17,401, despite the outsourcing of thousands of patients under the NTPF.

Health Minister Simon Harris, said last night that Budget 2017 made provision for the treatment of long-waiting patients. He said €20m had been allocated to the NTPF, rising to €55 million in 2018.

"I am well aware that if we are to break the vicious cycle of both overcrowding and long waiting lists in our hospitals, we need to put in place fundamental building blocks for our health service," he said.

The plan includes more hospital beds and work "is under way on a bed capacity review so we can clearly identify the needs in advance of the Government's mid-term capital review".

Irish Independent

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