03 Dec 2021

More than 22,000 patients on waiting lists at Letterkenny University Hospital

HSE says more than 700  on waiting lists for over four years 

Forty-five patients reported awaiting beds at Letterkenny University Hospital

Letterkenny University Hospital: A total of 16,723 outpatients and a further 5,401 inpatient and day cases are on waiting lists

More than 22,000  patients are on waiting lists at Letterkenny University Hospital, figures show.

A total of 16,723 outpatients and a further 5,401 inpatient and day cases are on waiting lists at the hospital, figures presented to the Health Service Executive’s regional health forum west show.

Some 729 outpatient cases have been waiting more than four years with three inpatient or day cases waiting for the same period. The figures show 2,288 outpatient and 721 inpatient or day cases are waiting for between two and three years. 

The HSE said 342 inpatient and day cases were cancelled in 2020 with another 287 cancelled this year to date.

A further 205 outpatient clinics were cancelled last year and 369 have been cancelled this year.

The figures were released following separate questions from Donegal members of the forum Cllr Ciaran Brogan and Cllr Gerry Crawford.

In response to a question from Cllr Brogan the HSE said additional endoscopy lists are being performed each day except every other Sunday until the end of the year. 

The hospital is using private hospitals to increase capacity and has engaged with the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) to outsource patients to private hospitals.

The hospital has also commenced a number of outpatient initiative clinics in the hospital funded through the NTPF.

John Hayes, chief officer of the community healthcare organisation for Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan, said the hospital “along with all other hospitals in the country, is facing a number of challenges in relation to waiting lists, bed capacity, increased numbers of people attending the emergency department, staff recruitment”. 

The situation is being exacerbated by the ongoing number of patients who need to be treated for Covid-19 in the hospital and in the ICU, he said.

Cllr Brogan said he was surprised at the figures which were due to a combination of cancellations caused by Covid-19 and the cyberattack on the HSE earlier this year.

“It was always a concern I had from the start of Covid that non-Covid patients and related sicknesses would suffer as a result of it. That is coming to pass now and I am very concerned about it.”

He said he has asked the HSE to look at options to reduce the lists. “Is there anything we can look at now to do things differently? Could we get  more supports into the  primary care system, more supports into the GPs?”

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