Waiting lists in Louth make for “depressing reading”, insists Breathnach
More than 200 patients waiting for inpatient services or surgery at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda have been waiting more than a year.
That’s according to new figures from local TD Declan Breathnach, who described the current hospital waiting lists in the county as “depressing”.
He revealed that there are 1,064 people waiting for inpatient services or surgeries in the Lourdes Hospital at present with a further 669 people on the waiting list for the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk.
With over 200 waiting more than 12 months to be taken into Drogheda for their procedure, a further 18 are waiting 18 months or more.
For outpatient servies there are 13,061 people on the waiting list at Our Lady of Lourdes across all specialities and 3,088 for the Louth Hospital on the Dublin Road in Dundalk.
The Fianna Fáil deputy said the current situation “cannot be permitted to continue.”
Breathnach said: “I spent from 1991 to 2005, some 15 years on the Health Board trying to ensure that both a regional and national approach be taken to the delivery of Hospital Health Services.
“While the recently published report ‘The Sláintecare Plan’ has ambitions and goals to deliver that sort of fair, affordable and effective public health system, and while the report is cross party, we need to hear a concrete commitment from current and successive Governments to implement this plan.
“I am reminded of the idiom “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail” and I hope this is not just lip service – and to quote Robbie Burns
“The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men” which we know often go awry.”
“The current state of affairs cannot be permitted to continue. In my own County of Louth the latest figures on waiting lists makes for depressing reading.
“In relation to the waiting lists I feel that it’s the not knowing that is frustrating. I think if people were told, say for a non-urgent procedure that they will be seen in 12 months or even 18 months, just having a set date would be a comfort,” he said.
Deputy Breathnach also expressed the view that cross border healthcare should be promoted.
“The Cross Border Healthcare Directive, for public patients, should be advertised more to those who wait for long periods. While I am aware that this would not suit everyone as the patient has to pay for the procedure upfront and apply for reimbursement afterwards, and also that the Directive only covers medical costs and hospital costs and not the cost of travel and other ancillary costs.
“When asked in a parliamentary question about this in February this year the Minister replied that all hospitals were provided by the HSE with text on the Directive to be included in waiting list correspondence. This has not been my experience as I have brought it to the attention of many people who had been waiting a long time for procedures and they said that they were never told about this,” said Deputy Breathnach.