A Galway West TD has described as ‘disturbing’ the fact that University Hospital Galway accounts for a quarter of all patients in Ireland waiting for inpatient treatment for over 15 months.
Noel Grealish said that one in six patients in Galway have been on waiting lists for over 15 months, whereas the figure nationally is one in eleven patients.
He also said that it was ‘shocking’ that 114 people have been waiting for more than a year in Galway for cardiac treatment, when this time last year there was just one patient in that situation.
The comments were made in the Dáil yesterday to new Tánaiste Simon Coveney at leaders questions, during which he outlined the failures of our health system, especially in Galway.
“My own local hospital, University Hospital Galway, UHG, which is the busiest in the country, is an example of the woes of the current health system, with its growing waiting lists and overcrowded emergency department,” he said.
“The situation has been made worse by the fact that leaking rooves over the operating theatres in Merlin Park Hospital have resulted in some procedures having to be carried out in UHG and, of course, the cancellation of many operations.”
Noel Grealish said that he appreciates that there has been some movement to reduce the inpatient and day case list but that he finds it ‘disturbing’ that UHG still accounts for more than a quarter of all the patients in the country who are waiting for more than 15 months for inpatient treatment.
“Put another way, one in 11 patients on the waiting lists for inpatient or day case treatment nationally have been waiting for more than 15 months.
“In Galway that proportion is one in six patients.
“It is shocking, for instance, that a total of 114 people have been waiting for more than a year in Galway for cardiac treatment, when this time last year there was just one patient in this situation.
“There were 17 people last year waiting for more than a year and a half for oral surgery and this total has since soared to 570. We seem to be going backwards, rather than forward, in terms of health care and the reforms suggested in the Sláintecare report cannot come fast enough,” said the Independent TD.
Simon Coveney said: “As part of budget 2018 it was announced that funding to improve access to emergency care in 2018 will enable the opening of additional hospital capacity, including new beds, and additional diagnostic services and surgical capacity will be provided to reduce emergency department overcrowding.
“Additional capacity will be introduced in Galway in this respect.
“A new 75-bed ward block was completed in 2016 and the new acute mental health department is expected to be operational by the end of 2017.”