Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has expressed serious concern about escalating waiting lists at the urology department at Letterkenny General Hospital following confirmation that management have still not filled a locum urologist post. The position was left vacant after Dr. Kevin Moran resigned earlier this year.
In response to a Parliamentary Question from Deputy McConalogue, management at Letterkenny General Hospital has confirmed that a consultant urology post has not been even approved, let alone advertised, despite claims that efforts to source a locum urologist are continuing.
Deputy McConalogue said, “At the end of August 2015 there were 880 patients waiting for an outpatient urology appointment in the hospital, with 343 patients on the list for more than 12 months. There were also 233 patients waiting for an inpatient urology appointment. This is a completely unacceptable situation; these patients need proper clinical assessment at the earliest opportunity. Instead of having their symptoms manages or treated, they are languishing on hospital waiting lists.
“I’ve had a number of patients contact my office such is the seriousness of the situation. One had a catheter fitted in Februrary, and now, six months later is still waiting for an appointment to have their surgery scheduled. A second waited 3 years for an appointment only to be told that there is no-one available in Letterkenny to carry out the scope that she now needs. While a third chose to go private because they were so worried about their health. However, not everybody has the money to pay to be treated privately.
“This Government promised to invest in health services, but this has not happened for urology patients at Letterkenny General Hospital. In fact, the opposite is the case. Services have been reduced and vacant posts are not being filled. Patients are being forced to wait for months on end for an appointment and then endure an 8 hour return drive to Galway University Hospital when a date is finalised.
“It’s not only Urology patients that are waiting. There are now 14,880 patients on outpatient waiting lists at Letterkenny Hospital at the end of August 2015 – over 4,000 of them are waiting more than one year. Minister Leo Varadkar saw the situation for himself when he paid a visit to the hospital last week. I am repeating my call for him to engage fully with hospital management to come up with a workable solution so that all patients are seen in a timely manner. The lives of Donegal patients must be valued”.