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Fury as vital operations cancelled at Beaumont due to staff shortages

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Beaumount Hospital - file picture

Beaumount Hospital - file picture

Beaumount Hospital - file picture

Patients are “seething” after their vital operations were cancelled at Beaumont Hospital over a shortage of anaesthetics staff.

Those affected by the cancellations include people with brain tumours and serious spinal problems.

Consultants at the hospital have revealed that two of the hospital’s 10 operating theatres are closed at any one time because of staffing difficulties.

Fourteen patient lists are being cancelled over each eight-week period, according to one consultant.

Meanwhile, the number whose operations are being cancelled or postponed in each period ranges from 30 to 40.

Staff have raised the issue with hospital management and the HSE.

“My patients are seething, and who can blame them?” said one member of staff at Beaumont, which is the national centre for neurosurgery.

“How would you feel being told your essential surgery was being put back nine months?”

The closures of the theatres could lead to longer waiting lists, which already stand at more than 600 for neurosurgery. A hospital spokesman said that periodically a small number of theatre sessions are closed due to shortages of anaesthetics staff.

“This is a short-term problem and will lead to minimal disruption of services,” he said.

Disruption

However, the situation where two theatres are closed on any day of the week was                            described as “embarrassing” by one doctor.

Elsewhere, dermatology appointments have been affected at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital after a recruitment drive to fill a vacancy was unsuccessful.

“The HSE has been advertising for a paediatric dermatologist to cover the Temple Street service since March last year, but no candidates have applied,” said a spokeswoman.

“The HSE also placed an advert for this post in the British Medical Journal in November, but without success.

“So it is not an issue of a lack of resources to fund a new consultant.”

Temple Street cannot cater for children who have been referred for a first dermatology appointment.

The current number of patients on the waiting list is 1,259.

The hospital hopes to be in a position to provide a partial service for first referrals in late spring.

It is continuing to receive patients who have been referred for follow-up dermatology appointments, and is seeing 25 to 30 a week.

fdillon@herald.ie


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