Waiting Lists – Statement in the Dáil 09 February 2017
Seamus Healy TD:
The recent “RTE Investigates” programme told us what we have all known for many years. The nation was rightly shocked. It put the human face of pain and suffering on the figures. The public has been misled. The term “alternative facts” comes to mind. The public is entitled to, must be told and know the truth. The long waiting lists are the result of cuts to services by successive governments, for example, 2,000 beds have been taken out of the system, there is overcrowding in accident and emergency departments, posts are not filled and there is a moratorium on posts. I have been raising these issues for some time.
I recently raised the issue of the urology waiting list at University Hospital Waterford. A letter received by one of my constituents puts the case very plainly:
We are writing to inform you that you have been placed on … waiting list. We will forward you an appointment in due course.
You have been prioritised as: URGENT.
You should expect to be seen within 48+ months.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
The constituent must wait more than four years. The reply from the HSE and the Minister, which I received only yesterday, confirms that there is a major problem at University Hospital Waterford. It states, “The clinical risk for the Urology Services is on the Corporate Risk Register and is rated high risk.” The management at the hospital has applied for additional resources, two consultant urologists, support staff and funding to provide a proper service to the hospital. Those resources have not been provided. Will the Minister provide those resources not just for University Hospital Waterford but for all those from the south east, including Tipperary, using the services at the hospital?
I have as promised continued to follow up regarding the Urology Services at Waterford University Hospital where the waiting list is now 48-plus months. I asked Minister for Health Simon Harris what proposals he has to rectify the situation. He has referred my question to the HSE for reply. The HSE have forwarded the following reply.
“PQ *2541/17 “To ask the Minister for Health, in view of the fact that the Urology Outpatient Waiting list at University Hospital Waterford is now 48 months plus, the proposals he has to rectify the situation. [Seamus Healy].
The Health Service Executive has been requested to reply directly to you in the context of the above Parliamentary Question, which you submitted to the Minister for Health for response. I have examined the matter and the following outlines the position.
The total number of referrals to the Urology Service has increased by 90% since Urology commenced in University Hospital Waterford in 2015.
The management of the unprecedented demands faced on the Urology Service in University Hospital Waterford (UHW) is of high priority for UHW Executive Management Board and the Group Leadership Team of the South/South West Hospital Group SSWHG).
The clinical risk for the Urology Services is on the Corporate Risk Register and is rated high risk.
A number of possible solutions within South/South West Hospital Group are being explored including the possible availability of additional day case capacity in South Tipperary General Hospital STGH). It is planned that additional capacity for Urology day cases will become available in STGH in the 2nd quarter of 2017 following the opening of additional day case capacity in STGH.
UHW has also sought additional capacity within the SSWHG however the backlog of patients will require a special initiative.
In order to develop a sustainable solution UHW will continue to seek additional resources including Consultant Urologists and supporting services through the Estimates process. This will include additional cystoscopy and Outpatient Department sessions to ensure that the full presenting need will be met.
Following the approval and recruitment of additional Consultant Urologists, additional OPD, Operating Theatre and bed capacity will be required.”
I will continue to follow up and keep you updated.
Seamus Healy TD
In view of the fact that the urology outpatient waiting list at Waterford University Hospital is now 48-plus months, I asked Minister for Health Simon Harris what proposals he has to rectify the situation. He has referred my question to the HSE for reply. I will continue to follow up and keep you updated.