Gynaecology appointments backlog ‘astonishingly dangerous’ – Sorca Clarke TD
Sinn Féin TD Sorca Clarke has called on the government to act over the major backlog in gynaecological appointments, after she obtained figures revealing more than 4,000 women have been waiting over 18 months for an appointment.
The figures were obtained by Teachta Clarke following a parliamentary question.
Speaking today, Teachta Clarke said:
“I have been informed by the Minister for Health that there are currently 30,180 women on waiting lists for gynaecological appointments in Irish hospitals.
“Of these 14,571 (48.2%) have been waiting for longer than 6 months and 8,223 (27.25%) have been waiting for longer than a year.
“Most shockingly of all, 4,372 women have been waiting over 18 months. This is beyond concerning and is astonishingly dangerous.
“At a time when we have the breast check backlog, the cervical smear test backlog and recruitment concerns, women need assurance that their health needs will be met. I am urging the Minister for Health to recognise the urgency of intervention here and ensure he acts.
“Most of these delays, but not all, were caused by the curtailment of services due to Covid. This is understandably unavoidable to a certain extent, but as I’ve stated previously, we have a perfect storm brewing for a crisis in women’s health which has been exacerbated by a failure to invest and this further adds to the risk.
“Whatever resources are needed should be immediately put in place to avert this potential crisis before it is too late.
“A year without seeing a gynaecologist could be a year of living with an undetected problem as well as a year of serious anxiety for many. The HSE needs more resources and support to deal with the number of patients they have and the backlog present in gynaecological care, among pressures on staff and additional social distancing measures.
“We are approaching International Women’s Day and we will hear a lot of people praising the women in their lives, the achievements of women throughout our country and its history and rightly so. However, this will all ring hollow if we continue to ignore the serious shortfalls in their healthcare.
“I am urging Minister Donnelly to take urgent steps now to give the HSE the resources, investment and support required to ensure this backlog is cleared and women can receive medical treatment in a timely way.”