Ageing HSE equipment 'puts patients at risk'
More than half of the HSE's critical medical equipment in clinical use is more than 10 years old, potentially risking patient safety, it has emerged.
Older equipment leads to greater risks of failure and breakdown, causing cancellations and increased waiting lists for medical interventions.
New data shows there are 21,326 pieces of critical medical equipment in HSE acute hospitals.
Of these, 11,484 medical devices are more than 10 years old while 1,676 medical devices are more than 20 years old.
The ageing devices include anaesthetic machines, equipment for radiology, infusion therapy, patient monitoring and ultrasound scanning, patient ventilators, theatre tables, flexible endoscopes and central sterile services department reprocessing equipment.
Consultant histopathologist at St James's Hospital, Dublin, Dr Ciarán Ó Riain said it was commonplace across the health service for outdated equipment to break down before being replaced.
He called for a national replacement plan for essential medical equipment to help reduce waiting lists and risks to patients.
He said the recent National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026 emphasised the need for budgeting for replacement and upgrading of diagnostic equipment in a rolling programme to facilitate modern practice and to meet the demands of increasingly sophisticated oncological practice.
He added that the problem was indicative of a broader issue of the overall short-term nature of health planning.