Thursday 13 December 2018

'Glitch' blamed for man's 2024 neurology wait

St Vincent's Hospital
St Vincent's Hospital
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A patient who was sent a letter inviting him to attend a hospital appointment in 2024 has received a new date less than two months away.

There was shock in the Dáil when Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin read out the letter from St Vincent's University Hospital, which was passed to him by a constituent.

The patient had been referred to the hospital for a neurology appointment.

In a letter dated February 14, which has been seen by Irish Independent, the man was asked to present himself at 8.45am on January 1, 2024.

"It almost takes the proverbial when the next line asks him to present this letter to the receptionist on arrival and states that if he is unable to make the appointment, it is important he phones to cancel it on the number provided," Mr Howlin said at the time.

"The letter then states the hospital may be able to give the appointment to another patient. That is six years from now. What is happening with outpatient appointments? Is this in any way acceptable?"

In response, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "I worked in hospital medicine and community medicine for seven years and I often saw people get appointments for six months or four months later, but I never saw anyone get an appointment for six years' time."

It is now understood St Vincent's has identified a "systems error" which caused the New Year's Day appointment to be issued. The patient has since been given a time to meet with a consultant in early May.

Irish Independent

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