Wednesday 16 October 2019

Cancer patients wait six months for scan


Stock Image: Getty
Stock Image: Getty
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Patients with cancer can wait for up to six months for a basic diagnostic procedure, the Oireachtas Health Committee was told yesterday.

Dr Michael Harty, who was a GP in Co Clare, said he knew of patients in the mid-west who face these delays.

He was also told of a patient who was due to have surgery earlier this year and had been fasting while it was put back.

The TD was speaking as the number of patients on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick reached a new high of 82.

Dr Harty echoed earlier criticism by Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly that there appeared to be a lack of urgency by Health Minister Simon Harris and HSE chief Paul Reid - who were before the committee - to tackle issues of hospital overcrowding and waiting lists.

Mr Donnelly said access to hospitals seems to have collapsed, with a million people on some form of waiting list.

"Patients are lying on trolleys because there are no beds, there are no beds because there are rampant delayed discharges, there are delayed discharges because there are no step-down facilities and no home help hours, and on it goes," he said.

Mr Harris rejected the accusation and said a meeting will take place in Dublin today to discuss the difficulties faced by health services in the mid-west.

Next week's Budget will also set out how much funding is being earmarked for this winter's plan to tackle the trolley crisis.

The plan is expected to follow a similar pattern to last year, with more funding for transitional care beds, long-term nursing home places and home-care.

Irish Independent

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