Cancer patients can’t get surgery although hospitals operating at 25% capacity – TD

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Galway Daily news Respite services at Merlin Park to be restored by August

Some people diagnosed with cancer have been unable to get surgery even though hospitals are operating at a fraction of their full capacity, a Galway West TD has said.

Catherine Connolly TD asked Minister for Health Simon Harris in the Dáil how this can be the case while some hospitals are functioning at 25% capacity during the pandemic.

“I live in a city with four hospitals, there are two sister hospitals, Merlin Park and the regional hospital, as well as the private clinic in Doughiska and the Bon Secours, and they are all functioning under capacity,” said the Independent TD.

The Minister for Health responded to Deputy Connolly’s question by referring to the fact that when it comes to private hospitals, the Government is choosing to have some vacant space for a potential second wave, as is recommended.

The Galway West TD also took the opportunity to request that the term “cocooning” is dropped since it is “insulting and unhelpful”.

She declared that “the whole policy in regard to the over-70s has introduced an ageism and has set equality way back”.

The Minister for Health agreed with the Galway TD and claimed he didn’t know how the word arrived or why everyone is using it.

Simon Harris reassured the TD that the word is not meant to be offensive.

He maintained the purpose of the term was to impart the “best public health advice to a group of people who are not vulnerable people, but who are vulnerable to the virus”.