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Audiology waiting list numbers at Waterford Regional Hospital unacceptable – Cullinane

1 June, 2011

Waterford Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has described the audiology waiting list numbers at Waterford Regional Hospital as unacceptable. Senator Cullinane was reacting to figures he received from the Minister for Health which show a total of 1,412 patients are on waiting lists since June 2010.

However the figures no not include those on waiting lists for much longer periods. The figures also show that 436 children over 4 and 450 children under 4 have been referred since June of last year and face lengthy waiting times. The H.S.E.

Area Manager Mr. Richard Dooley has confirmed to Senator Cullinane that the current waiting time is approximately 20 months.

Speaking from Leinster House today Senator Cullinane said:

“I have been dealing with a number of urgent cases where patients are on lengthy referral waiting lists to be seen by the Audiology Department at Waterford Regional Hospital. One such case involves a 62 year old man who needs a replacement hearing aid but will have to wait at least two years before he is seen by an audiologist. In relation to audiology services in the south east, Waterford Regional Hospital is the main unit for referrals in the region. A total of 1,412 patients are on waiting lists since June of last year including 450 children under the age of 4.

“The Minister has confirmed that Paediatric third tier screening is provided at Waterford Regional Hospital by an audiological scientist. However the service is experiencing some difficulty at the moment due to sick leave. Recruitment of a locum scientist is underway through the regional disabilities office in Cork. The Minister also points to a HSE plan to employ additional scientists for the neonatal screening service and to assist with third tier screening waiting lists. These appointments need to happen as soon as possible. Delays in new appointments and uncovered sick leave is rampant across the Health sector and is further evidence that the public service employment embargo is a crude instrument that is failing patients.

“I welcome the recently published HSE report of the National Audiology Review Group. This report contains a comprehensive set of recommendations to address the inconsistencies and inadequacies in audiology services. The Minister must now provide adequate resources to ensure that we have improved access and delivery of high quality, consistent audiology services around the country. This must be done as a matter of priority.” ENDS

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