Friday 19 January 2018

Two-year hip op wait is unacceptable

Patients are living with excruciating pain because cuts mean the hospital can't afford the implants

Hospital waiting lists are set to rise Stock photo: Depositphotos
Hospital waiting lists are set to rise Stock photo: Depositphotos

Stephen Donnelly

Imagine living with intense, debilitating pain and learning that, while your condition can be dealt with, you'll have to wait two-and-a-half years. That's what people in need of orthopaedic surgery are hearing every day in Ireland. The reasons are few and the solutions are straightforward, but they're not happening, and people are left in agony.

A few weeks ago, a constituent, Sarah, came to me in despair. She needs a hip operation, but because of a lack of funding for Cappagh, the National Orthopaedic Hospital, she has to wait 15 months. During this time her hip is deteriorating, her pain in increasing, she's now limping and may end up in a wheelchair.

When I looked into Sarah's case, here's what I discovered. The State is paying for the hospital to be open. It's paying for the operating theatre to be ready. It's paying for the surgeon and the theatre team. It's paying for the bed in the ward Sarah needs to recover, and the clinicians needed to help with that recovery.

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