73,000 await hospital appointments across Cork

73,000 await hospital appointments across Cork

Speaking to The Echo, Stephen McMahon of the Irish Patients Association (IPA) said he was particularly concerned by the high numbers of people waiting for longer than 12 months to be seen.

MORE than 73,000 people are waiting for an outpatient appointment or a date for an inpatient procedure at hospitals across Cork.

Latest figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) show that at the end of February, there were 67,138 waiting for a date for an appointment at hospitals in Cork including 32,035 people waiting to be seen at Cork University Hospital (CUH), 22,357 people waiting for an appointment at the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital (SIVUH) and 7,009 at the Mercy University Hospital (MUH).

A further 2,600 people were waiting for an outpatient appointment at Mallow General Hospital, 1,678 at Bantry General Hospital and 1,459 at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH).

Some 29,651 people waiting for an outpatient appointment were waiting at least 12 months to be seen with 18,262 of these people waiting for 18 months to be seen.

A further 6,831 people were on waiting for a date for inpatient/case procedures at Cork hospitals including 2,939 at the SIVUH, 1,405 at CUH, 1,242 at the MUH, 689 at CUMH, 319 at Bantry General and 237 at Mallow Hospital.

629 of these people were waiting longer than 18 months for an inpatient/day case procedure.

Figures for last February, the last full month before Covid-19 began to impact on the health service show that at that time 58,440 people were waiting for outpatient appointments in Cork. 11,354 of these people were waiting longer than 18 months to be seen.

At the end of February last year, 4,836 people were waiting for a date for an inpatient procedure at hospitals in Cork.

Speaking to The Echo, Stephen McMahon of the Irish Patients Association (IPA) said he was particularly concerned by the high numbers of people waiting for longer than 12 months to be seen.

“People are waiting longer to get their treatment. Because they are waiting longer they are deteriorating, or in the case in the outpatient appointments, at best-delayed diagnosis,” he said.

The IPA spokesperson said he wants to see the establishment of a National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) type committee to deal with non-Covid care.

“We have to tackle the non-Covid care issue urgently and in a coordinated way because it’s not just simply, the care in hospitals, it’s the care in the screening services, the care in the community, the care across the board.” 

Commenting on the latest figures, a spokesperson for Cork University Hospital said: “Cork University Hospital, in collaboration with the South/South West Hospital Group (S/SWHG), has undertaken substantial work to address waiting lists and manage the effect of Covid-19 on overall activity as we continue to work with all our hospitals to improve patient access to services.

“The Group has generated additional capacity through a variety of means such as insourcing (out of hours capacity),use of the private hospital arrangement and National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) funding.

“However, due to the current surge in Covid-19 rates in the community and the additional pressure on acute services, all elective work has been suspended across the region, with the exception of emergency surgery and time-critical elective cancer surgeries. This situation is being monitored and reviewed on a weekly basis and the recommencement of non-urgent procedures will be dependent on Covid-19 transmission rates, acute capacity and national guidance.”

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