Delays in providing essential scans will leave lasting impact on the 135,000 people on waiting lists – FF

–       Over 17,000 people have been waiting over a year for a scan –

Figures obtained this week by Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly TD reveal that 17,648 people across Ireland are waiting over a year for an essential scan.

Deputy Donnelly commented, “I had in fact sought details of waiting times for a range of diagnostic procedures in hospitals nationwide. However, the Minister for Health was only able to provide information related to CT Scans, MRIs and Ultrasounds.

“This is the first time in many years that we have been able to get information about diagnostic scans. In 2015, the Government confirmed that it would begin the national collection of standardised and comparable data for such procedures from the following year onwards.

“Both 2016 and 2017 passed without any tangible effort to fulfil this commitment and here we are, three years later still looking at an incomplete picture. Not only is the information I have been provided with this week from the Department packed with caveats, it is predicated on a pilot project.

“This just is not acceptable.

He added, “Nevertheless, the data itself is a cause for significant concern. Some 44,123 people are currently waiting for an MRI Scan – almost 9,450 of who have been waiting over one year. 5,422 are waiting more than a year-and-a-half.

“An Ultrasound is proven to be an essential diagnostic tool in medicine, yet 59,404 people are waiting for the important procedure in Ireland. 6,018 are waiting more than a year while 3,535 have been waiting more than 18 months.

“CT scans provide medical information that other imaging techniques cannot as accurately identify and on that basis both practitioners and patients rely on access to the scan. That’s why it’s so concerning that 31,567 people are waiting without even knowing when they might receive an appointment.

“Irrespective of the financial implications of such delays on the Health Service Executive; the lengthy waiting times being endured by people can only be leading to longer term health problems than had they received a prompt appointment when needed.

“As with so much else in Ireland’s health service, it’s most frustrating that these problems could and should be sorted but are let continue due to a sheer lack of political will,” concluded Deputy Donnelly.

Fianna Fáil
Stephen Donnelly TD
Spokesperson on Health

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