Over 1,000 operations cancelled in first six months of year
By Mary Dennehy
MORE than 1,000 operations were cancelled at Tallaght Hospital in the first six months of this year, according to new figures obtained by a local councillor.
However, The Echo has been told that official Tallaght Hospital figures dispute Fianna Fáil’s number of 1,058, with hospital figures lower than the number received by the party through a parliamentary question.
Publishing the figures this week, Fianna Fáil councillor John Lahart has claimed that the figure of 1,058 provided to Fianna Fáil are among the highest number of cancellations in the country – with both inpatient and day-case procedures affected due to overcrowding and staff shortages.
“These figures are very worrying and they point to serious capacity issues at Tallaght Hospital,” Cllr Lahart said.
“It is completely unacceptable that so many patients who clearly need treatment are being subjected to such a high level of cancellations and are being forced to wait even longer for the surgery that they need.”
He added: “Tallaght hospital is clearly under severe pressure due to an increase in demand, worrying staff shortages, vacant frontline posts and record high waiting lists.
“The scale of cancelled operations at Tallaght Hospital also points out the pressure that staff and management at the hospital are under.
“They are working in extremely difficult conditions that are only getting more difficult daily.
“Despite going above and beyond the call of duty they are being prevented from doing their jobs to the best of their abilities due to the unprecedented over-crowding levels and chronic staff shortages.
“As waiting lists continue to grow and operations keep getting cancelled, the circum-stances for staff and patients are becoming increasingly difficult. The Government needs to set out how it can clearly and credibly bring waiting lists at Tallaght down.”
However, while there have been hundreds of cancelled operations in Tallaght Hospital in the first six months of this year, The Echo understands that the figures published are far in excess of hospital figures.
A source close to the hospital told The Echo that official, verified hospital figures for both adult and paediatric services go against those published this week – with the figures being refuted and questions being raised over the categories used to reach a figure of 1,058.
When contacted by The Echo, a spokesperson for Tallaght Hospital had no comment on the accuracy of the figures but he said: “Tallaght Hospital is working with the HSE to address waiting list pressures that are evident across the acute hospital network through opening up new beds and increasing capabilities.
“There are currently 414 adult inpatient beds at Tallaght Hospital and there is a growing requirement for such beds across the hospital system due to an aging population and greater case complexity.
“Some non-urgent inpatient procedures are occasionally rescheduled due to pressures on capacity from unscheduled inpatient admittances, such as from the Emergency Department, as well as from the fáilure of patients to attend and also due to medical reasons.”
When asked about the figures, Cllr Lahart said that they were received through a parliamentary question and that they include adult and paediatric services.