Surgeries being cancelled every day - Crowe
Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has described cancelled surgeries as a fact of daily life in public hospitals right across the State and said the practice was the result of the cruellest of public spending cuts.
Crowe believes the only real solution to the crisis lies in the recruitment and retention of staff, more step down beds coupled with rehabilitation supports, a funded and functioning primacy care service, and an increase in hospital beds.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“Anyone who is preparing for elective surgery needs to understand that regardless of whether you have private medical cover or not, if your operation is to be carried out in our public hospitals then there is always the likelihood of a cancellation. These surgery cancellations are happening on a daily basis right across our broken health system and they are understandably having a devastating impact on long suffering patients and their families.
“Nine times out of ten it is because no hospital bed is available, but increasingly the shortage of theatre staff, and particularly nursing staff, is becoming a more common reason for cancellations. This is frustrating for surgeons and other medical staff, who, through no fault of their own, find themselves constantly in this situation.
“Many patients who have waited years for their life changing surgery are literally being told hours before their appointment, that their surgery won’t be going ahead, and that they are back in a queue. This is a cruel and heartless way to treat what can in many cases be seriously ill individuals. They have prepared, fasted, worried about the procedure, and are then told at the last minute that their long awaited surgery is not actually going ahead.
“Only last week patients requiring brain surgery in Beaumont Hospital were being turned away from the neurosurgical centre because of a lack of beds and step down facilities. This is also happening to patients in other hospitals with cancer and other serious life threatening illnesses.
“The HSE is presiding over a broken system that now has a larger patient cohort and a bigger population, but fewer beds than ten or twenty years ago. The current system is clearly not working for patients, staff, and those currently awaiting surgery.
“Sinn Féin, in our pre-budget submission this year, will again be proposing significant investments in the health system to make available hospital beds, staffing, and ancillary services. The current cruel system is not fit for purpose, is impacting negatively on the health and wellbeing of everyone involved, and it needs a radical new approach.
“Sinn Féin has been consistent in saying that the solution to this crisis in public health care is investment in the public system. The only real solution to the crisis lies in the recruitment and retention of staff, more step down beds coupled with rehabilitation supports, a funded and functioning primacy care service, and of course the reopening of beds closed in our hospitals by successive Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments.”