02 Oct 2022

Over 5,000 Tipperary people waiting on outpatient appointment

Health service in Tipperary 'chronically underfunded'

Over 5,000 Tipperary people waiting on outpatient appointment

Sandra Farrell: critical of hospital appointment figures

There are over 5,000 people in Tipperary waiting on outpatient appointments, according to figures released this week by Fianna Fáil general election candidate Sandra Farrell.

The highest number - 4,298 - are waiting at South Tipperary General Hospital, with a further 822 waiting for outpatient appointments at Nenagh hospital.

Many of those have been waiting for more than a year, she says, with 850 waiting in South Tipperary and 173 in Nenagh.

According to Ms Farrell, there are 1,401 people waiting for inpatient treatment at Nenagh, with 139 waiting in South Tipperary.

In a further breakdown of when type of treatment people are waiting on, she says that 1,254, mainly elderly people, are waiting for hearing treatment, with 684 waiting for speech therapy.

“It’s clear for all to see that the health service in Tipperary is chronically underfunded and not fit for purpose in both North and South Tipperary,” said Ms Farrell. “Tipperary people are getting a second-class health service due to extraordinary levels of neglect by the Government.”

She said that when "they took away the emergency department in Nenagh, they said we would have a centre of excellence in Limerick".

“The reality is University Hospital Limerick is the most overcrowded and underfunded in the country,” she said.
Ms Farrell said that the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, praised Beaumont Hospital for how it had dealt with overcrowding.

The reality was University Hospital Limerick had 21% more patients in ED than Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, yet it had 31% less staff than the Dublin hospital and 39% less beds than the Dublin hospital, she said.

“This is another glaring example of how when it comes to public services, there is one rule for Dublin and another for the people they like to refer to as ‘down the country,” said Ms Farrell.

A spokesperson for University Hospital Limerick said that UL Hospitals Group noted the increased allocation to the National Treatment Purchase Fund this year and welcomed the recent publication of the Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019. This plan is focused on improving overall use of resources to tackle long wait times and to ensure more timely access to treatment and care for patients.

"We do not minimise in any way the anxiety experienced by patients waiting for appointments. All patients who are waiting for appointments are prioritised according to clinical need, with urgent cases being the highest priority. Beyond this, UL Hospitals Group will continue to focus on seeing and treating those who have been waiting the longest," they said.

The spokesperson said that among the reasons for the overall increase for the group was the significant growth in demand; an increase in the number of urgent referrals in some specialties, such as ENT and orthopaedics, and a shortage of consultants in other specialties. New consultant surgeons in ENT and orthopaedics had recently taken up posts. In addition, the opening of the new cataract only theatre in Nenagh Hospital was having a knock-on effect in helping reduce OPD wait times in ophthalmology.

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