Munster calls on Minister to provide high-dependency beds to end last-minute cancellations

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has hit out at Minister for Health Simon Harris for the failures of the health service to carry out planned surgeries due to a lack of resources in hospitals.

Speaking in the Dáil this week, Deputy Munster outlined the case of a constituent who has had planned back surgery cancelled twice because there was no high dependency bed available.

Deputy Munster said:

“This woman has been on a waiting list for over a year for surgery due to complications of scoliosis. She is in severe pain.”

“Her surgery requires a high dependency bed be on standby, however on the two occasions that her surgery was scheduled such a bed was not available. On both occasions she had spent the night in hospital having pre-operative tests carried out, only to be told on the morning of surgery, in the theatre department, that the procedure had been cancelled.”

“Her surgeon has advised her that this can, and will, happen again and again. There is no end in sight for her, as nothing is being done to remedy the situation.”

“She has told me that the repeated cancellations are ‘emotionally and physically devastating”.

“The government made a commitment to reduce waiting times for hospital procedures. This situation is easily rectified. It’s little wonder that waiting lists are so long when basic procedures such as the provision of a standby high dependency bed cannot be guaranteed for patients, and surgeries are cancelled multiple times as a result.”

Minister Harris responded that he intends to increase the number of beds, and that he intends to build new elective-only hospitals.

Deputy Munster responded:

“This is a totally unsatisfactory response. Fine Gael have been in government for seven years, and they have failed to deliver. It is outrageous that the only response the Minister can muster is to that he intends to deliver more beds and build more hospitals. They’ve had seven years to address this.”

“It is totally unfair that patients continue to suffer due to the incompetence of the Minister and his department”.