Cork South West TD, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said that attempts by the HSE to remove people from hospital waiting lists by asking patients themselves whether they wished to remain on the waiting list is disgraceful and an act of desperation.
Deputy Murphy O’Mahony was commenting after obtaining a copy of a letter a local GP received after their patient didn’t respond to the HSE’s original request.
“This smacks of absolute desperation. Is the HSE’s plan to deal with waiting lists simply to force patients to self-remove themselves from waiting lists?
“Patients themselves are not the appropriate person to make this decision, and it’s deeply unfair to put them in such a position. The HSE should know this.
“By all means, speak to a patient’s GP and check if an appointment is still necessary, but asking patients in the first instance puts a lot of pressure on them and their family.
“This seems to be a widespread practice in the HSE, across all hospitals and all specialities. I don’t believe it’s right and proper.
“At the end of the day, GPs have sought appointments for their patients because they feel that a specialist opinion or specialist treatment is necessary. The HSE and the Government need to find a way of seeing and treating more patients in an efficient manner.
“To work down the waiting lists, the HSE must recruit and retain more hospital doctors by improving working conditions and make better use of the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). We know that in specialisms that use the NTPF, waiting lists have dropped by 8%. It works and must be expanded,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.