Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has called on the Minister for Health to ensure that 9 vacancies in the bone density scanning service in Merlin Park University Hospital in Galway are filled without delay so that massive backlogs at the unit can be cleared.
Last month it was reported that there is a 20 year waiting list for bone scans because there are not enough radiographers to provide the service.
Deputy Calleary commented, “I was appalled to learn of the situation at Merlin Park University Hospital, which is the main bone-density scanning centre in the west. Waiting lists have been a consistent problem in our health service, but a wait of 20 years for a scan is completely unacceptable. Older people, and patients with osteoporosis are being put at risk as they are forced to wait for these essential diagnostic tests.
“Staffing at the unit has been an issue for a number of years, but approval was given to recruit more staff back in 2013, however the positions remain vacant. There are currently 9 vacancies at the unit.
“Minister Harris has confirmed, in a reply to a Parliamentary Question, that only one radiographer has been recruited to date, while the recruitment process for the other 8 posts is still ongoing. These positions need to be filled as a matter of urgency, given the long waiting lists being experienced by patients in Mayo, Galway, Sligo, Donegal, Roscommon and Leitrim.
“Despite assurances that the Saolta Hospital Group is looking at options including staff overtime and outsourcing to alleviate pressure on the service, we need a long solution to the ongoing staffing issues at the unit and that requires all the vacant posts being filled without delay”.