Worsening wait for eye treatments
Cork North West TD Aindrias Moynihan has said that people's quality of life and in particular, for older people, is being "severely damaged and curtailed" as a result of extraordinary and worsening waiting lists for ophthalmological treatments.
Deputy Moynihan was commenting after a recent parliamentary question to the Minister for Health showed that 6,318 people are currently waiting for an outpatient appointment at Cork University Hospital - including 1,158 people waiting longer than 18 months.
"What's startling is that nearly one in five people in the entire country who are waiting for an outpatient appointment, are waiting at CUH. What the Minister for Health must understand is that these are people with real lives to live," said Deputy Moynihan.
"Unfortunately, many of these patients are elderly and the delays in them receiving treatment for eye conditions are having a terrible impact on their quality of life," he added.
Deputy Moynihan insisted there needed to a be radical change in how the waiting list is tackled, saying there was an over reliance on hospitals.
"While the main procedures must take place in a hospital we should be making use of opticians in the community to do some of the preliminary assessments and diagnostics. This 'Sligo Model' is currently in use in the North West and has been seen to deal with backlogs.
"We simply cannot allow these waiting lists to stay. People's lives are being ruined," he said.