CORK HOSPITAL WAITING LISTS: Sinn Fein TD says waiting times are ‘outrageous’

9 August 2017
By Elaine Murphy

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said that the Government needs to get to grips with the outrageous waiting list facing patients in Cork.

Key stats

Cork University Hospital

o · 7,099 patients on hospital trollies in 2016.
o · 27,321 outpatients on waiting lists as of January 2017.
o · 67 patients outsourced to other hospitals in 2016.
o · 1,038 inpatient elective procedures and surgeries cancelled in 2016
o · €31.8 million spent on agency staff from 2013 – 2016
o · Loss of 83 whole time equivalent nursing positions between 2015 and 2016.
o · In the year 2009 the operating budget of CUH was €292 million; and as of 2016 it was yet to be restored to that figure.

Mercy University Hospital

o · 2,726 patients on hospital trollies in 2015.
o · 5,129 outpatients on waiting lists as of December 2016.
o · 625 patients outsourced to other hospitals in 2016.
o · 1,742 outpatient cancelations in 2016
o · €2.4 million spent on agency staff from 2013 – 2016

Speaking at the launch of reports he compiled on the two major Acute Hospitals in Cork, Deputy Ó Laoghaire stated that there was a real need to reverse the damage inflicted by austerity and poor policy choices made by Governments over the last ten years.

The documents included an examination of the gaps in services at CUH and the Mercy Hospital and where additional investment was required.

“We are clearly in the midst of a national crisis in terms of waiting times. Last month saw record numbers of 578,981 people waiting on procedures – an increase of some 9,000 from the previous month.”

“Here in Cork, we see that there is 23,795 people on the outpatient waiting list in the CUH, 4,960 in the CUMH, and 4,408 in the Mercy. That number for the CUH is among the highest in the Country.”

“There are 5213 waiting over 12 months in the CUH, and of those 2244 are waiting over 18 months. This is replicated across the Mercy and CUMH. These are people may be in serious pain, may be being stopped from returning to work, and undergoing immense hardship while awaiting procedures.

“The Programme for Government in 2011 committed to ensuring that every patient would get an appointment within 12 months. The fact that the trend is going in the other direction, underlines the extent to which Government policy has failed.”

“This document is a substantial outline of the major issues in the major acute hospitals. It outlines where there are serious shortfalls, where there are gaps and inefficiencies that need to be dealt with.”

“We will be submitting this document to the Minister for Health, to the Management of Both Hospitals, and to the management of the HSE and the HSE South, with a view to informing the budgetary discussions, and ensuring that Cork’s Hospitals are well enough resourced.”

“There are many areas, such as Gynaecology, Ophthalmology, Mental Health, where there are serious deficiencies. We will be advocating for significant investment in Capital Infrastructure also, in relation to the need to open up the addition Gynaecology theatres in CUMH, ensuring that the Mercy is up to standard in terms of infection control, and that investment goes in to delivering Mental Health wards in the Mercy which are up to scratch.”

“These issues of resources can be better managed, by a move to a Public Healthcare system, publicly funded, and the reliance on private and agency staff reduced. ”

“Sinn Féin believes that the delivery of the Comhliosta model for managing waiting lists, can deliver much greater efficiency in managing waiting lists. Sinn Féin would deliver an increase in funding for acute Hospitals by €238m over five years, above increases to cover demographic costs, and separate to our proposals in relation to recruitment. We also believe that there is a need for substantial investmentin recruitment, and would aim to recruit 500 nurses per annum over five years, as well as 800 consultants over five years.”

“We will be putting our case to the Minister, to ensure the people of Cork get the healthcare service they deserve and that waiting times are reduced, and that there are appropriate increases in funding for Cork Hospitals.”

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