Thursday 14 December 2017

Galway and Cork worst as 26,000 ops cancelled

HSE chief Tony O’Brien. Photo: Damien Eagers
HSE chief Tony O’Brien. Photo: Damien Eagers
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

More than 26,000 patients had their surgery cancelled last year as the trolley crisis escalated, with hospitals in Galway and Cork worst hit.

Many endured cancellation of surgery after languishing on waiting lists, as beds needed to be freed up for patients who had to be admitted from emergency departments.

The full scale of the crisis has emerged in new figures showing around 71 operations a day had to be postponed.

The worst affected were Galway University Hospital where 5,549 operations were cancelled and Cork University Hospital with 4,060 postponed.

St James's Hospital has to put 3,702 operations on hold and another 2,234 patients suffered delay in the South Infirmary Hospital, Cork.

The cancellations have helped to fuel waiting lists with more than 75,000 now in the queue for surgery,

The HSE said the policy was to try to re-schedule the operation as quickly as possible.

It said that cancellations are a feature of every hospital system and the number should be viewed in the context of overall hospital activity.

Admissions can be cancelled for several reasons.

Meanwhile, the annual report of the HSE for 2015 shows that a review of people with medical cards led to 26,384 cars not being renewed because they were above the income threshold,

In 1,867 cases, the cardholder was deceased and for almost 35,956 the cards were not renewed because the card holder did not respond. The assessment of eligibility is ongoing in relation to 17,062 cards.

It also carried out around 1,575 targeted reviews of card holders who were still believed to be eligible.

As of March 2016, the assessment of eligibility had been concluded in relation to 1,356 cardholders. Continuing eligibility was confirmed in relation to 1,259 cards and was removed in 97 cases because income thresholds were not met.

The HSE annual report report shows that 1,510 HSE staff are earning more than €140,000 with three of these on more than €200,000. This compares to 1,290 in 2014.

HSE chief Tony O'Brien said the "impact of the downturn in our economy over the last number of years has been very difficult for everyone.

"This was no different for health services, for those using our services and the staff providing them. It has been challenging for all of us to do more with less."

Irish Independent

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