Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North Frank O’Rourke says he is concerned by the rise in waiting lists for spinal surgery at Tallaght Hospital.

Deputy O’Rourke made the comments after securing a special Dáil debate on the issue with Minister of State Finian McGrath.

“Tallaght Hospital currently provides outpatient spinal surgery services for a number of hospitals, including Naas. The total catchment area for the hospital is in excess of 100,000 people and there is significant demand for spinal surgery services,” explained Deputy O’Rourke.

“I have met with staff at Tallaght Hospital who have pointed out that there simply are not enough resources in place to deal with the demand for spinal surgery services. The hospital does not have a specialist spinal surgery theater and this is resulting in significant increases in waiting times for outpatient services.

“There are currently 412 people on the spinal surgery outpatient waiting list at the hospital. 107 of these have been waiting between six and twelve months, and the waiting list is increasing by the day. Alarmingly there are currently 93 patients awaiting urgent surgery. The demands for spinal surgery will increase as the population ages. It will become a critical service in the years ahead.

“In light of this I have asked the Government to consider putting in place a targeted investment for spinal surgery services at Tallaght Hospital. It’s important that we take action now to ensure the hospital can meet the increasing demand for such services. It’s unacceptable that people are waiting months on end for urgent surgery, but this will become a common trend if the investment in services is not delivered.

“Experts have pointed out that Tallaght Hospital needs two dedicated spinal surgery theaters. The hospital currently has no such theaters in place. This needs to change and it is something I will continue to raise with the Government,” said Deputy O’Rourke.