Winter plan is 'key' to tackling hospital overcrowding in Cork, says Minister 

Winter plan is 'key' to tackling hospital overcrowding in Cork, says Minister 

More than 31,000 adults are awaiting outopatient appointments at CUH. Pic; Larry Cummins

A WINTER plan is the “key thing” needed to help tackle problems with overcrowding at Cork University Hospital (CUH), a Government minister has said.

Speaking in Cork, Michael McGrath, the public expenditure and reform minister, said the overcrowding situation at the hospital was “quite challenging” and the key thing was for a winter plan to be brought forward by Stephen Donnelly, the health minister, and the HSE.

“I expect that to happen quite shortly,” he said, confirming that a plan would be in place within a matter of weeks.

The latest National Treatment Purchase Fund figures show an increase in the number of patients awaiting treatment in Cork with more than 31,000 adults awaiting outpatient treatment at CUH.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1’s Today with Claire Byrne yesterday, HSE chief clinical officer Colm Henry said the waiting list from a clinical perspective is “a big worry to me and to clinicians and to people who lead different clinical programmes.

“What I want to see is the same intent and purpose and focus on the pandemic and the reaction to that onto waiting lists because what we proved during the pandemic was that with that kind of focus and energy we can respond in the most extreme of crisis and I’ve no doubt if we approach the waiting lists with the same energy we can do the same thing,” he said.

The number of adults waiting in the various timebands for outpatient treatment at CUH as of August 26 was 31,318, while 5,382 children awaited treatment at the hospital, an increase on the numbers waiting the month previous when 30,721 adults and 5,326 children were awaiting treatment.

A total of 1,951 adults and 44 were awaiting outpatient treatment at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH).

Elsewhere in the city, Mercy University Hospital had 6,993 adults and 522 children awaiting outpatient treatment, while at the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital there were 21,240 adults and 1,925 children awaiting outpatient treatment.

At Bantry General Hospital, there were 1,602 adults awaiting outpatient treatment and at Mallow General Hospital there were 2,715 adults and 122 children.

The number of adults waiting for inpatient treatment at CUH as of August 26 was 1,118, while 152 children awaited treatment at the hospital.

A total of 594 adults were awaiting inpatient treatment at CUMH, while the Mercy had 1,105 adults and 107 children awaiting inpatient treatment and the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital had 2,527 adults and 129 children awaiting inpatient treatment.

At Bantry General Hospital, there were 127 adults awaiting inpatient treatment and at Mallow General Hospital there were 199 adults.

Commenting on the National Treatment Purchase Fund figures, IHCA president Professor Alan Irvine said it has been “another sobering week in healthcare”.

Meanwhile, the Irish Cancer Society has said that an investment of €45m is urgently needed in Budget 2022 to rebuild pandemic-hit cancer services so they can cope with an expected upcoming surge in demand.

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