Sunday 20 October 2019

Operations have been cut by bed shortages in hospital, says surgeon

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

An orthopaedic surgeon in one of the hospitals worst hit by the trolley crisis has said his surgeries have been cut due to a lack of beds.

Dr Peter O'Rourke, a surgeon in Letterkenny Hospital, in Donegal, said the hospital's operating lists are only 20-25pc of the usual rate due to a lack of space for patients.

He is limited to two cases a week and normally he would carry out at least five others.

Dr O'Rourke has a waiting list of around 100 patients who are in the queue for joint surgery and would require an overnight hospital bed stay.

It comes as hospital waiting lists for January rose again with 72,027 waiting for some form of surgery, up from 70,804 in December.

Around 11,004 are waiting for orthopaedic surgery and 797 have been on the list for at least 18 months.

A combination of factors have contributed to increasing delays, including the need to free up beds for patients from A&E and reduce overcrowding. The first nurses' strike at the end of last month was also a factor.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund has been allocated €75m this year, an increase of €20m on 2018, to buy treatments for patients on waiting lists.

It said that in 2019, it will arrange treatment for 25,000 patients on the active list for surgery.

Another 5,000 public patients who need a gastrointestinal endoscopy will have them paid for privately.

The fund will pay for 40,000 first-time outpatient consultant appointments.

There are currently 523,225 patients now in the queue to see a specialist.

Irish Independent

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