The waiting list for orthopaedic surgery at Merlin Park Hospital has grown to more than 2,000 people.
A group of ten orthopaedics surgeons at Merlin Park Hospital sent a letter to TDs on March 22 confirming that waiting lists have reached historic levels as a result of closed surgical theatres according to Galway West TD Catherin Connolly.
Deputy Connolly said that the “stark contents” of this letter are unprecedented, showing that “the situation is becoming unbearable for patients who are on the waiting list and who are clinically disimproving as they wait to be admitted for surgery”.
Plans to install a modular theatre building on the grounds of Merlin Park to replace the two theatre which have been closed since September 2017 recently hit a massive setback.
The HSE admitted at the Regional Health Forum this week that it has cancelled a letter of intent with the planned provider of the project due to being unable to reach terms of agreement.
This could cause a setback of months, at a minimum, as the HSE is now going through a revised procurement process to secure another provider.
Waiting lists are building up alarmingly quickly amid this crisis, as another letter from surgeons at Merlin Park Hospital sent in January warned of a backlog closer to 1,500 people.
The consultants are calling for Health Minister Simon Harris to get involved in this “growing regional crisis” deputy Connolly said.
Catherine Connolly added that she has written to the Minister, and will also be raising the matter in the Dáil.
“It is evident that no value is being put on patient’s suffering,” she said, citing 18 months of “confusing and contradictory” responses to questions.
She said that as of last May she was informed that contract documents had been exchanged and that Saolta was working towards having the modular theatres open by October.
“Since then the replies have become more difficult to follow or understand and 18 months later we still have no theatres and 2000 people suffering on a list that the consultant has described as a catastrophic waiting list, with serious regional implications.”