Wednesday 17 January 2018

Waiting lists grow as HSE cuts kick in

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

The number of public patients on hospital waiting lists has risen to more than 19,700 as bed closures and tightened budgets take effect.

New figures from the Health Service Executive (HSE) show 19,770 adults and children were waiting for procedures requiring daycare or at least one overnight stay in July -- up from 18,319 last April.

Several hospitals have had to close beds to stay within budget and further pain is on the way as the HSE must implement cuts of more than €100m before the end of this year.

There were 762 beds out of use for budgetary reasons, with 420 unavailable for surgical patients and 341 for medical patients.

The report also revealed that consultants in many hospitals are still not treating the numbers of public patients they are required to under the terms of their contracts.

Between 70pc and 80pc of patients should be from public lists, but just 28.57pc of doctors in the Eye and Ear Hospital were complying with these quotas for inpatients, with just 42pc in Tullamore Hospital.

Just 56.4pc of consultants in Cork University Hospital were meeting their obligations for public inpatients, and only 40pc in Limerick Maternity Hospital were complying with their contract terms.

Long trolley waits continued to be a problem in various hospitals, the report said. A patient registering at the emergency department of the Mater Hospital could wait 24 hours before getting a bed.

The other findings released by the HSE revealed that:

  • Just 21pc of assessment for disability needs were completed on time although the target was 100pc.
  • Only 48pc of patients were admitted on the day of surgery and not the night before. It should be 75pc.
  • The number of new patients seen at outpatient clinics rose 10.9pc compared to last year.

Irish Independent

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