Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has this afternoon criticised the Minister for Health James Reilly following his department’s admission of lengthy delays in Tallaght Hospital.
Following a Parliamentary Question submitted by Seán Crowe TD, Sinn Féin has learned that 265 patients have now been waiting more than twelve months as a result of the ophthalmic service in Tallaght Hospital having no medical cover during the summer months.
“Access to regular ophthalmologists can in some cases, including where diabetes is involved, be the difference in losing one’s sight.
“It is a scandal that 265 patients have experienced difficulties and delays with the ophthalmic service in Tallaght Hospital.
“This is a big hospital, providing a vital service in an environment where government cuts are damaging its very foundations. It is clear that the public service recruitment embargo is having a damaging impact on patient care and it should be lifted immediately.
“I would like to ask the Minister why the ophthalmic service did not have medical cover for a period during the summer, leaving a situation where patients are now having their appointments outsourced to private companies.
“Government and HSE policy would appear to be influenced by political expediency, short-termism, a privatisation mentality, bureaucracy, a drive to centralisation and book-keeping.
“The result is an unholy mess both in terms of policy and delivery.
“This is a perfect example of the valueless direction of James Reilly’s health policy and it is patients, some seriously ill, who are feeling the impact.”
Deputy Crowe's PQ and the response from the HSE follows:
To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties being experienced by patients in Tallaght Hospital who are waiting for an appointment with an ophthalmologist; the average waiting time for an appointment; the number of patients currently waiting for an appointment in this hospital; the reason for the lengthy delays; and his plans to resolve this issue
- Seán Crowe
Dear Deputy Crowe
The Health Service Executive has been requested to reply directly to you in the context of the above Parliamentary Question which you submitted to the Minister for Health and Children for response.
The Ophthalmic service did not have medical cover for a period during the summer. One Consultant has since returned and the second Consultant is due to return the beginning of 2014.
In the interim all patients (265) waiting greater than 12 months are having their appointments outsourced to a private provider. Full service will resume in 2014.
I trust this information is of assistance to you but if you have any queries or should require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.