Nearly 36,000 people waiting for outpatient appointments at TUH
Tallaght University Hospital

Nearly 36,000 people waiting for outpatient appointments at TUH

CLOSE to 36,000 people are waiting for outpatient appointments at Tallaght University Hospital, 11,957 of whom are waiting 18 months or longer.

It has also emerged that there are currently 15 vacant consultant posts at the local hospital.

Information on consultant posts nationwide was provided by the HSE following a Parliamentary Question by Sinn Fein.

Dublin South West TD Sean Crowe (SF), whose party earlier this week launched its Patient Experience Survey, said: “It is unacceptable that sick people who require urgent care are left in limbo for years waiting to see a hospital consultant.

“Without urgently hiring key healthcare staff to fill posts, these problems are only going to get worse.”

According to latest data released by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), some 35,839 people were on the outpatient waiting list at Tallaght University Hospital as of August 26, 2021.

Of these 35,839 people, 4,256 are waiting 12 to 18 months while 11,957 are waiting longer than 18 months.

Further data released by NTPF show that more than 900,000 people are on both inpatient and outpatient hospital waiting lists nationwide, while in more recent days debate has centred around reports that over 100,000 children are on healthcare waiting lists across the country.

Deputy Crowe believes that the government must use Budget 2022 to drive money into targeted areas of the health service to tackle waiting lists and overcrowding.

“We need the delivery of a major increase in beds, staff, and diagnostic capacity to meet current needs and tackle waiting lists,” Deputy Crowe said.

“We must introduce a centralised referral systems and an integrated waiting list management system.

“We cannot leave people on waiting lists for months and years at a time when they need medical treatment.

“We cannot consign them to a life of pain and suffering when we had the means and opportunity to fix the health service.”

As the debate continues nationally, and amid reports that the Government is soon to announce plans to tackle waiting lists, The Echo spoke with Tallaght University Hospital (TUH).

We put a number of questions to TUH on waiting lists locally and reports that there are 15 vacant consultant posts.

In its reply, a TUH spokesperson said: “Regarding recruitment, the consultant posts that are currently vacant are recently approved posts and are all at various stages of the recruitment process with the exception of a Consultant Gastroenterologist which we have advertised but are unable to fill.”

The spokesperson added: “The management of the waiting list during COVID-19 has been challenging.

“At times during the different waves of COVID normal scheduled care work had to stop at certain times in the last 18 months, only urgent time sensitive work was able to take place.

“We regret this delay for patients and are working very hard to reschedule anyone that had their procedure postponed.

“The introduction of the Reeves Day Surgery Centre has had a very positive impact on our surgical waiting lists which are now on a downward trajectory and the aim of the hospital is to be day case waiting list compliant by the end of Q2 2022.

“This means by the end of June 2022 no patient will have to wait longer than three months for day case surgery.”

The Reeves Day Surgery Centre is a new community-based day surgery facility opened by Tallaght University Hospital.

The facility, which is opening on a phased basis, is located across the road from the main TUH campus and is fitted out with four theatres and 25 recovery beds.

The spokesperson said that TUH is getting “significant support” for all waiting lists from the National Treatment Purchase Fund, Sláintecare and the HSE through the Safety Net Agreement and the Scheduled Care Transformation Programme.

“TUH will continue to use all available supports both internal within the hospital and external to reduce our waiting lists,” the spokesperson concluded.

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