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”.

Elective surgery cancellation in Dundalk “latest outrage by a dysfunctional HSE” Sharkey

Tomas Sharkey PhotoCounty Councillor in Louth Tomás Sharkey is hitting out at the decision by the HSE to cancel elective surgery in Louth County Hospital in Dundalk and has called it “the latest outrage in a dysfunctional health service.”

“The HSE has just announced that it is cancelling elective surgery in Dundalk’s hospital. They have admitted that this is not to free up beds to deal with an overcrowding crisis but simply to address the fact that there is a staffing shortage in the theatre section of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.


“This new decision means that a minimum of seven operations a day will be cancelled in Louth County Hospital. Those patients will not have their gallbladder, varecous veins and hernia repair operations carried out. They will be left on a longer than ever waiting list and will probably end up sicker as a result, putting a new burden on the health system. Tis cut will cost more than it will save.
“A surgeon now has no elective list of patients to operate on and no theatre staff to work with. There is no justification for the waste of that surgeon’s time. Patients are due to receive word that the operation they have been waiting for is cancelled and that news will have a huge impact on them, their morale and family’s plans to provide aftercare.
“This decision is not in response to an overcrowding or trolley crisis. It is down to the fact that there are to enough staff in the Lourdes hospital. the HSE has tried to recruit but cannot attract staff to work in that hospital. Moving theatre staff from Dundalk to Drogheda does not get more operations done – it simply rotates the reduction in service from one place to another.
“Put simply, the HSE and it’s bosses in government are failing on a daily basis to provide a reliable, consistent health service to the people of this region.