Waiting times for life-saving scans ranging from two weeks to two and a half years highlight glaring inequalities that remain in the health service according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher.
Deputy Kelleher was responding to information released to him by the HSE. It revealed that University Hospital Limerick currently has a waiting time for new routine MRI referrals of 30 months.
The HSE response to the Sunday Business Post today that “The waiting times for ultrasound, x-ray, CT and MRI are not currently collated centrally by the HSE” is also a serious cause for concern said Deputy Kelleher.
He commented: “The scale of difference in waiting times for MRI scans at hospitals around the country is extraordinary. The fact that patients could get a potentially life-saving scan in a couple of weeks in Dublin and wait for months in other parts of the country or a staggering two and a half years in Limerick is totally unacceptable. I am calling for the situation in Limerick to be brought under control as a matter of priority.
“I think a lot of people will also be very shocked to hear that the waiting period at the Midland Regional Hospital is also running at 4 to 6 months while for patients in Kerry the wait time is 3 months.
“There is much more transparency needed in relation to waiting times in the health service. The HSE’s admission in today’s Sunday Business Post that it’s not keeping track of waiting times for other scan such as Ultrasounds, CT and x-ray flies is very worrying. Minister Reilly is constantly telling us that waiting times are improving all the time but the reality for patients is that where you live determines whether or not you can get access to MRI scans in a timely manner.
“This is yet another example of the pressure on the health service at the moment. I have been consistently pointed out to Minister Reilly that I do not believe that services and patient safety can sustain the €620m in cuts he is implementing this year. He cannot hide from the glaring inequalities that are quite starkly highlighted here in the area of MRI scans. I believe patients are being put at risk unnecessarily and that the situation will only be made worse by the further cuts to frontline services being implemented in hospitals across the country.”