Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Health Senator Marc MacSharry has expressed his shock and outrage that a patient was initially turned down for a procedure at St Vincent’s University Hospital Dublin because they were ‘outside the catchment area’.
A patient suffering from chronic pancreatitis was referred from Sligo Regional Hospital to Consultant Surgeon, Oscar Traynor, in St Vincent’s to undergo the implementation of a spinal cord stimulator. On examination, Dr Traynor passed the case to the specialist in pain management, Consultant Surgeon, Dr Declan O’Keefe, who scheduled the procedure to take place last Thursday, August 8th, which was subsequently cancelled.
Senator MacSharry commented: “This procedure is not available in the West or North West of the country. However, when questioned on the cancellation it was wrongly stated to my office that these services are provided in both Cork and Galway.
“Only after a concerted campaign to have this surgery take place, the 27-year-old Sligo native will now receive the treatment at the end of the month.”
Senator MacSharry called on Health Minister James Reilly to urgently examine the deficiencies within the Health Service that continue to exclude the people of the regions including the North West.
“There are no pain management services in the North West and those suffering must travel to Cork. How many more necessary procedures will be ignored because the patient falls ‘outside the catchment area’?
“This inequality in the health service highlights the lack of oversight by Minister Reilly. It is totally unacceptable that this patient was initially refused this urgent procedure. Is it normal practice? Only because of pressure exerted on the authorities is this operation proceeding.
“It is unjust and unfair not having this procedure available to patients in the North West and it is a disgrace that Minister Reilly is presiding over such injustice.”