Sunday 16 December 2018

Patient shocked after receiving hospital appointment for 2024

St Vincent’s University Hospital in south Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
St Vincent’s University Hospital in south Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

There was shock in the Dáil this afternoon as details were revealed of a patient who received a letter inviting him to a hospital appointment in 2024.

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, which has been seen by, the hospital asked him to present himself at 8.45am on January 1, 2024.

“He got a letter from the hospital on 14 February - he was very happy even to be given an appointment - stating an appointment had been arranged for him at the waiting list triage clinic in the neurology department on the ground floor of St. Vincent's Hospital at 9am on 1 January 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.

“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 he suspected it was “an error”.

“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. 

“If the Deputy would like to pass it on to me or the Minister, Deputy Harris, we will have it examined,” he said.

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