'Waiting in pain for hip surgery is destroying my life'
Dubliner Michael Reilly, who has been on a waiting list for 14 months for a hip operation, said the pain he must endure is destroying his life.
Mr Reilly, from Dunard Drive, Blackhorse Avenue, Dublin 7, now fears he may have to give up work as a driver for the Blood Transfusion Service. He is finding it increasingly difficult to function because of the physical distress he experiences when he walks only a few hundred yards.
"It's fine when I am driving, but the pain is unbearable when I get out and start to walk. It ripples through you," he said.
He is not on any painkillers, which means there is little relief from the agony. Mr Reilly, who has six grandchildren, said his time with them was also being affected because of his problems with mobility.
"It's been a year since I was able to take my grandchildren out for a walk," he said.
The first twinges came 20 years ago when he was diagnosed with arthritis.
"The doctor told me it was going to get worse," he said.
The hip has deteriorated in recent years, leaving him with no option but to get a replacement. When he was examined by an orthopaedic surgeon nearly two years ago, he was informed the "hip was totally gone".
Although he was deemed a priority, he still does not know how soon he will have his operation.
"I console myself that when I have been to the clinic I was not in as bad a state as others. For some people, their hips and two knees are gone. But it is still destroying my life."
More than 2,000 people are waiting for hip replacement surgery across the country. Nationally, more than 13,385 are waiting for some form of orthopaedic procedure.
Referring to the waiting list among children for scoliosis surgery, Health Minister Simon Harris said it dropped from 312 patients in February 2017 to 156 by December. This was due to outsourcing to other Irish, German and UK hospitals.
Some €9m of funding has been allocated to the service for 2018. The HSE confirmed the four-month target for accessing surgery for scoliosis would be maintained this year and beyond, Mr Harris said.