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New surgeons can wait up to 12 months for theatre access

SOME newly recruited surgeons can wait up to a year to get proper access to hospital theatres in order to operate on patients.

Dr Trevor Duffy, president of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), said a lack of nursing staff could lead to hospital theatres having to cut back on services.

It means patients are having their surgery delayed and lack of resources may even leave the new doctor – on a salary of more than €100,000 – unable to even hold outpatient clinics.

Dr Duffy, a rheumatologist in Connolly Hospital, Dublin, revealed his office was a converted bathroom that he had to paint and decorate himself.

Friends helped him to remove the bath and sink and he installed a desk when he took up the post in 2006.

"I worked for four years in Geneva. I remember returning home to take up a position in Dublin and I travelled over a few weeks ahead with a car full of books and papers that I wanted to put into my new office.


"Great plan, but when I arrived at Connolly they quickly informed me that there was no office. Undeterred, I wandered around the hospital until I came across an old disused bathroom which had the critically important attributes of a door and a lock.

"I recruited some friends of my father and together we painted and organised the office and effectively requisitioned it. I remain there today," he told the IMO's annual meeting in Kildare.

Other doctors are still working out of the boot of their cars, he added.

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Meanwhile, doctors who held their first debate on the Government's plan to introduce universal health insurance by 2019 have described the White Paper as "indecipherable gobbledygook". Dr Cillian Tuomey, a geriatrician in Cork, said the proposed funding mechanism for the system was "off the wall and unworkable".

Sean Tierney, of Tallaght Hospital, warned if the funding stayed the same it would be the equivalent of putting "gold taps" on the bath. "You still end up with the same amount of water."

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