Hundreds of rheumatology patients have appointments postponed as a result of staff shortages
Hundreds of rheumatology patients in Galway have had their appointments postponed for the summer as a result of staff shortages.
Up to 850 outpatient patients at Merlin Park Hospital were cancelled for three months. The HSE confirmed the appointments had been cancelled during the summer months.
Those who were due to have appointments in July and August will now have these rescheduled for later in the year with some not receiving appointments until November or December.
The cancellations are understood to be as a result of staff leave and a number of vacant posts.
Close to 1,500 people from Mayo, Galway and Roscommon are currently waiting to see a consultant for such conditions.
Roscommon TD Denis Naughten criticised the delays as “unacceptable” and completely indefensible.
A statement from Saolta said: "Due to Consultant staff shortages, a number of Rheumatology Outpatient clinics in GUH are being postponed during the months of July and August 2015. The hospital regrets any inconvenience this may cause to patients and their families.
"New appointments will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Urgent patients however will continue to be seen. Clinics in Sligo/Manorhamilton will continue as normal."