30 April 2020
By Bryan Smyth
Some surgeries and treatments postponed indefinitely
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Padraig O’Sullivan has called on the government to work to find solutions so that non-COVID patients can access essential treatments.
At the outset of the restrictions, the majority of outpatient appointments and elective surgeries were cancelled. However, patient conditions could be exacerbated if these treatments are deferred indefinitely.
Deputy O’Sullivan explained, “I fully appreciate that extreme measures, such as cancelling appointments, operations and other procedures at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic were necessary. However, we are a number of weeks in now and hospitals are running far below capacity, while waiting lists are growing and I have very real concerns that patient outcomes could be compromised unless they receive treatment for their conditions.
“I have been contacted by a number of people frustrated at the delay to their operations. Some are in chronic pain and had already been waiting a long time to get an appointment. While they could understand the delay initially, they are annoyed that there is no timeline for a rescheduled appointment.
“While there are very serious issues in our nursing homes and some of our residential facilities, hospital admissions are well below capacity and our private hospitals are practically empty.
“I believe we should be looking at how best to use the facilities that we have open to us to ensure that non-COVID conditions can be treated. People are still having cardiac issues, cancer still needs to be treated, there are people in need of spinal and hip procedures. All of these conditions need attention and treatment.
“I have written to the Minister for Health regarding a number of specific cases, but I believe we need a national response to ensure that essential treatments are not falling through the cracks.
“The Chief Medical Officer himself has appealed to people to go to their doctor or attend their Emergency Department if they are unwell; however, these services need to be available to patients when they do seek medical help”.