Fianna Fáil has called for an urgent statement from the Health Minister Leo Varadkar to explain how serious mistakes were made with potentially thousands of patient X-Rays across seven hospitals in the country.
The party’s Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has expressed grave concern that the information is only coming to light through the media, while the Minister for Health and the HSE have remained silent on the issue.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “The fact that people who have undergone X-Rays and scans at these seven hospitals are only learning this news from the media today is extremely worrying. Why was the Health Minister not out in front of this? Why did we have to read about it in the Irish Times and not from Minister Varadkar and his HSE management?
“Given the sheer numbers involved, these potential errors would have occurred over the space of a number of months. I am concerned that just like similar crises in the past, the initial reports and the numbers of patients needing to be recalled may just be the tip of the iceberg. That is why it is imperative that we hear from the Minister and the HSE now. We need absolute clarity on exactly how and when these mistakes came to light, exactly how and when the Minister found out, exactly how many hospitals are affected, exactly what has been done to communicate with all the patients affected, and exactly what action has been taken to address the dangers that caused the problems in the first place.
“The major gaps in permanent consultants in our hospitals and the chaos around consultant recruitment are at least in part to blame for this. There are 250 to 300 vacant consultant posts currently being covered by locums on an ad-hoc basis. The idea that you can run a health service with temporary posts at the highest level of diagnostics is ludicrous. The chaotic nature of locum cover and the lack of consistency in expert care is putting patient safety at risk.
“Unfortunately it’s not the first time that something like this has happened. We need to know why a crisis like this was allowed to happen again if it truly is the case that lessons were learned from the controversy involving tens of thousands or unread or misread scans at Tallaght Hospital. I am calling on the Minister to make a statement immediately.”