Cork patient with one eye told he must wait six years and nine months to see specialist

The letter also states that he will remain on the waiting list and additional capacity is being put in place, but it also warns him that some eye problems can progress and may result in deterioration which may become permanent and irreversible
Cork patient with one eye told he must wait six years and nine months to see specialist

Danny Doyle from Togher who is left waiting for a hospital appointment for over 6 years. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

A CORK patient has been informed that he must wait six years and nine months before he can be seen for a follow-up appointment with the Cork University Hospital (CUH) Ophthalmology Service.

Danny Doyle, 36, who lost an eye in November 2006 after the taxi he was travelling in was hit by a tram in Manchester was recently sent a letter from Central Appointments Office which stated that due to limited capacity, the Ophthalmology Service at CUH is currently providing urgent eye care services only.

The letter also states that he will remain on the waiting list and additional capacity is being put in place, but it also warns him that some eye problems can progress and may result in deterioration which may become permanent and irreversible.

Following a follow-up call with the Central Appointments Office on Wednesday, July 27 Mr Doyle was told that he will remain on a waiting list for six years and nine months before a follow-up appointment can be held.

Danny who is supposed to have an eye appointment every year said he has not had an appointment with an eye specialist since 2018 despite the importance of his situation. 

“I got put on a waiting list to see the specialist in Ireland in 2011. In 2018 I finally got to see the specialist and he said that I need to be seen every year. Obviously, Covid hit and I got a letter basically telling me that they are aware my condition might get worse. The problem is because I only have one eye they have to look after the socket every year,” he said.

“I haven’t been seen since 2018. I have to take care of the one eye I have. I am hoping to see the specialist in CUH. I have one eye and it has to be taken care of,” said the Togher man. 

“When I rang Central Appointments, they told me the delay was six years and nine months for a follow-up appointment. I couldn’t believe it when he told me this. It is crazy.

“The man on the phone said if you feel you need to be seen quicker get your GP to refer you again which would mean I would be at the start of another list just to see him again,” he added.

Mr Doyle said he wants to make people aware of the issue. 

Danny Doyle from Togher who is left waiting for a hospital appointment for over 6 years. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Danny Doyle from Togher who is left waiting for a hospital appointment for over 6 years. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“Private health care is not an option for me as I have a pre-existing condition. I have brittle bones. I’m not pointing the finger at anybody. We all know the problems in healthcare. There is no accountability. The system seems to be falling down. People need to be aware of this.” 

Cork South Central Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has written to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and CUH seeking urgent action to ensure Ophthalmology patients are treated.

CONCERNS

The Sinn Féin TD said several constituents have expressed concerns that only the most urgent appointments will take place. 

“This is unacceptable and for patients to be told that that they will not be treated as the CUH is currently providing urgent eye care services only is beyond belief. Delayed appointments will lead to a deterioration in people’s conditions and many people are extremely worried,” he said.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly needs to ‘immediately address’ this matter. 

“The Minister for Health needs to come out and immediately address this matter and ensure that these patients are treated with respect and receive the care that they urgently require.

“I will be consulting with Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson David Cullinane on this matter and ensure that hospital services in Cork are properly equipped to deal with the needs of the population,” he added.

A spokesperson for the South/South West Hospital Group told The Echo: “For additional Ophthalmology service capacity in Cork, a new state of the art Ophthalmology Outpatient Centre in the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital (SIVUH) is complete and due to open in Quarter 4 2022.

“Construction works are ongoing in the SIVUH on the two Ophthalmology Theatres, and it is anticipated that the project will be completed in Quarter 4 2022. In addition, two Consultant Medical Ophthalmologists have been recruited to support the city-wide Ophthalmology service in Cork,” the spokesman said.

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