Unclear when pancreas transplants will resume
It is unclear when pancreas transplants will resume for waiting list patients - despite assurances that the vital operations would begin again in September.
The programme, which was running in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, has been put on hold since the beginning of the year following the early retirement of surgeon David Hickey.
It is being transferred to St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin - but efforts to recruit specialist surgeons so far have proved unsuccessful.
A spokeswoman for Beaumont said work was continuing to put systems in place to start the transplants again in St Vincent's "in the coming months".
Health Minister Leo Varadkar said he was concerned that patients were left with a lack of clarity. "I have been assured on several occasions that pancreatic transplant services will be up and running in St Vincent's," he said. He is now to convene a meeting on the issue.
Anxious patients who say they have been left in limbo were among those who handed in a petition with 15,000 signatures to Beaumont Hospital yesterday, asking that the "hospital not abandon them".
Dublin mother-of-two Ciara Kelly, who is waiting for a transplant, said: "Day by day, my body is getting weaker. I'm afraid that by the time they sort this out, my body will be too weak for a transplant."
She said there was an "unknown number of people waiting to be put on the list".
Beaumont Hospital said the first joint assessment clinic for patients was held last week with another due in mid-September.