Here’s a news item – “a new hospital waiting list initiative has been launched aimed at clearing long waiters. At present, five hospitals account for over 60% of those on inpatient hospital waiting lists for more than a year. Latest figures show that just over 18,500 patients are waiting over three months for hospital treatment, while just over 8,600 are waiting over six months.”
Here’s another new item – “a new hospital waiting list initiative has been launched aimed at clearing long waiters. At present, five hospitals account for 70% of people waiting more than a year for treatment. Latest figures show that just under 24,000 are waiting more than three months for treatment, while just over 11,300 are waiting longer than six months for treatment. The numbers waiting over six months have nearly doubled over the past four months.”
The first news item is from January 2010, during the tenure of that much berated former Health Minister, Mary Harney. The second news item is from this week, during the tenure of the current Health Minister James Reilly, who we are told (frequently) is tackling the waiting list problem.
Well, if frequently launching waiting list initiatives and issuing upbeat statements constitutes tackling the problem, one can suppose that Minister Reilly is tackling the problem.
Unfortunately, statistics tend to be brutally frank, and the latest waiting list figures would beg the question as to whether anything has really changed since Mary Harney departed Hawkins House in early 2011.
Admittedly, the numbers on waiting lists increased substantially during Ms Harney’s tenure after January 2010, and by the time James Reilly came to office in March 2011, three month plus waiters stood at 26,000. After a short period of decline,the numbers are now almost reaching those not so dazzling heights yet again.
The Minister has just announced he has launched yet another initiative aimed at clearing the long waiters from the five hospitals responsible for the longest lists
Ministerial initiatives to tackle waiting list backlogs have been part and parcel of the health planning landscape since before Mary Harney’s time as Minister.
Unfortunately, to date they have been no more than more than sticking plaster solutions that so far have failed to tackle the resourcing and organisational problems that have bedevilled proper access to public hospital care for decades, and which have worsened as a result of the economic collapse of recent years.
To be fair to James Reilly, his establishment of a Special Delivery Unit to cut waiting lists and improve access to hospital care has had some success. During 2012, the SDU’s intervention did lead to some improvements in treatment waiting lists, particularly for long waiters.
By the end of 2012, the total number of three month plus waiters had reduced to 18,773, and among these, only 143 patients were waiting over nine months for treatment. The latter figure is now 3,715. The average waiting time for treatment is now three months, compared to 2.5 months last December.
History is repeating itself. Before they started to get out of control, in late 2009, Mary Harney, through the National Treatment Purchase Fund, had got waiting lists down to roughly the levels James Reilly achieved by late last year, before they inevitably rose again.
This waiting list roller coaster of recent years has a common theme running through it- diminishing healthcare resources and in particular, inadequate hospital and community resources to deal with pressure points in the system.
Can any Minister really keep a permanent lid on waiting lists in a health system that has had more than one fifth of its funding removed since 2008, and with more cuts to come in 2014 and in 2015?
Yes, James Reilly can argue that he has had some success with waiting lists and he will deal with the latest ‘slippage’ through a €18 million funding injection (which will probably get swallowed up pretty quickly).
But to date it appears that his actions have essentially been ‘fire brigade’ exercises that have yet to deal with systemic flaws in the system.
He says the recent waiting list rise was due to a longer ‘clinical winter’ and a higher than normal level of elderly emergency admissions. But if the system is being changed for the better, as we are told, shouldn’t it be able to cope with these surges?
If waiting lists are really being tackled, shouldn’t we be seeing a more or less permanent decline in numbers, and not have to be frequently going back to the waiting list drawing board simply because very ill emergency patients are turning up in hospitals and needing beds?
It is alarming to note that the Minister admitted this week that the recent pressure on beds caused by higher than usual admissions through EDs had to be be dealt with through reducing the number of planned procedures, thereby increasing waiting list numbers, which then have to be dealt with by yet another special initiative.
And the Minister certainly likes his initiatives.
James Reilly’s SDU has launched many of these with varying degrees of success. We have had the patchily successful treatment waiting list initiative referred to above.
We have had an ED trolley wait initiative, which has has reduced trolley numbers, although the figure are still quite high.
Also, figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation indicate that recently, the old trolley problem has simply turned into an overcrowded ward problem.
We have had two initiatives under James Reilly to reduce waiting times for colonoscopy and gastroscopy tests. Numbers waiting for these tests, often used to check for cancer, are on the rise again.
We have had a more recent initiative from the SDU to reduce outpatient waiting lists. With nearly 7,000 waiting over four years for a first outpatient appointment and 380,000 in total on these lists at the latest count, this particular initiative clearly has a long way to go.
And then we have the ‘hidden’ waiting lists that don’t normally get officially reported.
A recent Irish College of General Practitioners survey of 300 GPs showed that their private patients only had to wait an average of four days when they were referred to a private hospital for for an ultrasound test, whereas their public patients had to wait on average 14 weeks for this test at a public hospital.
If the GP college didn’t tell us this then we would never have heard about these shocking waiting lists. Up to date figures on average waiting times for GP referrals for hospital diagnostic tests are not published by the HSE or the Department of Health.
Another hidden waiting list is where even if patients get into the hospital system, they still have to wait. Diabetes patients in some hospitals sometimes have to wait two to three years for an outpatient check up, where they are already in the hospital system and have already seen a consultant for the first time.
Again, these statistics are not revealed publicly by the HSE or Department of Health.
James Reilly cannot be faulted for making an effort to improve public patient access to our health system.
Yet, through all the swings and roundabouts of fluctuating waiting list and trolley numbers, and the often reported hardship suffered by sick patients through poor access and poor facilities, and Ministerial promises that things are getting better, the underlying message seems to be that our health system still doesn’t work, despite all the ‘spin’.
The bottom line seems to be that despite some pockets of efficiency and indeed excellence in the service, our broke statelet simply does not have the resources at the moment to provide a uniform standard of quality care.
The hidden truth is that all that can be hoped for is to keep the current system ticking over and hope that not too many people come to too much harm.
Resources are often promised, but seldom delivered, to improve hospital services at crucial pressure points, or to fund community and primary care to a proper level take pressure off hospitals and keep patients out of hospital.
Until this key issue can be resolved, everything else we are told or retold by Minister Reilly and his junior ministers is essentially window dressing.
And as for universal healthcare by 2016 (to be run by insurance companies no less), dream on.
88% rise in treatment waiting lists
They’re Only the Little People
The following article was published in some Irish American newspapers on May the 8th. It is another another insight in to the standard of healthcare in Ireland under the leadership Minister James Reilly, with the support of the Irish Labour Party.It is well known fact worldwide, even in the third world that Ireland is one of the worst places to get sick. In this article April Drew an American certainly agrees from first hand experience.
Only the Little People
The following article was published in some Irish American newspapers on May the 8th. It is another another insight in to the standard of healthcare in Ireland under the leadership Minister James Reilly, with the support of the Irish Labour Party.It is well known fact worldwide, even in the third world that Ireland is one of the worst places to get sick. In this article April Drew and American certainly agrees from first hand experience.
“Since our return to Ireland last May life in Ireland has been good to our family. I’ve not complained about much. We have everything we want and we remain positive when friends in the U.S. ask us how we could live in an Ireland steeped in a recession because they certainly couldn’t.
We had nothing negative to say about our own experience and that’s the truth …until now that is.
It has finally happened. We came face to face (indirectly) with the Irish medical system, and yes, it’s as bad as they say it is. It’s an utter disgrace, and I’m here to tell you what we saw first-hand. It wasn’t pretty.
My husband John’s mother made a recent trip to the emergency room at the, about a ten-minute drive from her home. It turned out it wasn’t a serious issue but she needed tending to immediately.
She arrived at the reception area of the emergency department at 6:10 p.m. on a Wednesday evening. Like any emergency room at that time of the day it was manic.
Seats were full. Patients and their loved ones stood along corridors, sat on floors and paced back and forth in an effort not to go insane. Parents and children, people of pensionable age and many more middle aged folks all looked sickly and irritated.
A young lady who appeared to be in her late twenties told my mother-in-law she had been there three hours and still hadn’t been seen to by a nurse.
“You’re in for a long night,” Mary was told. She had no idea.
After a few minutes of standing, a young man with a gentle face took pity on Mary and gave her his seat. She sat patiently and waited her turn.
It was close to 10 p.m. before a nurse came to take her vitals and carry out some blood work. The nurse advised her yet again that it was going to be a long night.
Midnight struck, and by this stage everyone was tired, cranky and hungry. Mary was finally admitted into the emergency room, and what she saw before her was shocking.
Beds full with patients, some in a very sickly way, took over the floor space. It wasn’t designed for this. Getting to the nurse’s station inside the department felt like one was walking through an obstacle course.
There were beds all over the place. It was utter mayhem. When they ran out of beds, patients (depending on the severity of their medical problem) sat on plastic chairs propped up against walls throughout the department.
Mary was directed to a chair for the following four hours. By this stage she was extremely tired and a little weak. She watched as some unruly characters entered the emergency room with various ailments, some causing quite a stir.
In the end the only reason she got a bed (about 4:30 a.m.) in the emergency room was because she took a weakness and fainted.
At one point during the night she needed to use the bathroom. She was told there was a queue forming and it was best she went outside to the main hospital and used the public toilets. She barely had the energy to get off the bed.
We sat with Mary as she tried to close her eyes to get some sleep. I was disgusted by what I was seeing.
The nurses were running around trying to keep up with patients being admitted and others being discharged. At one point a young fella entered the emergency room via ambulance with what looked like a screwdriver stuck in his head. It wasn’t a pretty sight, and we didn’t ask what kind of altercation he was in before arriving to the hospital.
Not only were the doctors and nurses trying to do their job, but they had to deal with scantily clad girls fighting with each other. A mother sitting across from us attempted to shelter her two-year-old son from such carry on.
It was disgraceful and kind of intimidating too. It was hard to know what would happen next.
When dawn crept in it was made clear to Mary that she would be admitted to the hospital for further tests, but she was warned it would be a while before a bed became available upstairs. Mary worked in that same hospital for 26 years as a secretary and retired three years ago.
It didn’t matter though. There simply wasn’t a bed available for her. The hospital was as overrun as the emergency room.
As I sat with Mary early on the Friday morning I pulled out my laptop and began writing what I saw around me. In the emergency room there were approximately eight bays where patients were put when admitted. All eight bays were full.
There was another 15 or so patients sitting on chairs and 12 or so beds scattered across the moderately sized room. It was simply a case of wherever they could shove in a bed they did.
It was necessary because a lot of these patients weren’t able to sit or stand, but it made the job of the nurses, doctors and porters next to impossible. They zipped in and out between beds, administered medicine where needed and hooked others up to IVs.
My poor mother-in-law was shoved up against a wall near the emergency room entrance. One minute it was warm, too warm. The next minute a blast of cold blew through the corridor making patients shiver.
Behind Mary a little baby shared a chair with his mother. He squealed in pain. The nurses tried to appease him but it was difficult, both on the little boy and his mother.
Across the corridor we could hear a man coughing. It was a rough, dry cough. The owner clearly didn’t have the energy to lift his head.
He lay on a hospital bed, sheets strewn to the side. He was wearing a pair of jeans, an old looking shirt and had a hole in both his white socks. I’m not sure where his shoes were. He finally stopped coughing.
The sound of monumental pain echoed from the bed next to him. The sounds were ad hoc, but when they came from the small-framed woman propped up in a bed I felt for her. She was alone.
The nurses and doctors were just too busy to attend to her needs. She had been admitted but that’s as far as she got.
A sprightly looking woman had her leg propped up in a bed. She looked exhausted. Later on I spoke with her to discover she came to the hospital at 2 p.m. the previous day and was still waiting for a bed upstairs.
Beside her lay a man in his forties who had chest pains. His wife was worried. He wasn’t being kept in because scans showed nothing out of the ordinary.
He told me he was waiting three hours for discharge papers. He was lying in a bed that could have been used for someone else, but because the staff were so overrun they hadn’t time to release his bed.
Later that day we sat next to a lady in her nineties. She was frail. She didn’t have it in her to even speak.
After a few minutes of tossing and turning she called for a nurse. She looked in distress. No nurse could tend to her. She started vomiting.
John went to her bedside, propped her up and placed a jug underneath her chin so she would not choke while getting sick. The nurse came over, handed John a cardboard bowl and instructed him to hold it under the lady’s chin. He did as he was told.
I could see the woman was ever so embarrassed and very grateful at the same time. She was alone.
I stayed with Mary until lunchtime on the Friday. I left her in an exhausted state and not any closer to a bed in the hospital itself.
As I left the mayhem through the emergency room reception area there was another 40 or so people waiting to be seen to. It was unbelievable.
Mary finally got a bed in a ward upstairs at 5 p.m. on Friday. She was 23 hours in the emergency room.
We read about the state of our hospitals in the newspapers, we hear about it on the radio, we chat about it at dinner parties but to experience it, even indirectly, is a whole different story.
While living in New York we had our fair share of trips to the emergency room and the hospital. Each time we came away saying how wonderful the service was, even if it did cost us an arm and a leg (we didn’t have insurance).
The nurses and doctors were always so attentive, and although we may have waited two or three hours in an emergency room to be seen to or admitted, it was nothing like the craziness I experienced in Limerick last week.
I pray to God that I don’t have to bring either of my two children to the emergency room anytime soon.”
At the end of February, the Mid-Western Regional Orthopaedic Hospital in Croom had 4,148 patients waiting four years or more.
There were 105,632 patients waiting over a year for a first consultant outpatient appointment across Ireland.
This represents a small improvement on the figures up to the end of January.
The hospitals with the longest overall outpatient waiting lists were:
– University College Hospital Galway 41,035 patients
– Waterford Regional 28,625
– Tallaght Hospital 26,119
– Limerick Regional 23,098
– Cork University Hospital 22,944
– Beaumont Hospital 22,206
The HSE West said that it expects to make significant improvements in the outpatient waiting list for services at the Regional Orthopaedic Hospital in Limerick by the end of this month.
It said that all hospitals are validating outpatient waiting lists and historically lists have contained inaccuracies for many reasons.
It said the waiting list at the hospital as of 1 May for an outpatient appointment is 7,477.
The HSE West said that it aims to have the list validated by the end of May and have no patient waiting longer than a year for an orthopaedic appointment by the end of November.
Shock rise in hospital waiting lists
The number of patients waiting more than nine months for hospital treatment has skyrocketed over the past two months after falling substantially in 2012, new figures show.
Latest figures show that of 2,141 adult and child patients were waiting over nine months for a hospital procedure at the end of February, compared to only 109 patients in this category at the end of 2012.
Of these, 396 patients are waiting over 12 months for treatment, compared to only 37 at the end of last year, while 1,745 are waiting between nine and 12 months for treatment, compared to only 72 at the end of December.
The Department of Health told irishhealth.com that winter pressures in hospital emergency departments had led to the increase, but it expected the waiting lists to reduce again as winter pressure on hospitals eased.
The average waiting time for treatment for patients on waiting lists has increased from 2.1 to 2.7 months since December.
The total number on waiting lists in all time categories has increased from 51,708 to 53,400 over the past two months, according to new figures produced by the National Treatment Purchase Fund’s (NTPF) Patient Treatment Register.
The recent major rise in ‘long waiters’ on treatment lists follows a huge reduction in the number of patients waiting over nine months for treatment in 2012 as a result of an initiative by Health Minister James Reilly‘s Special Delivery Unit (SDU).
The NTPF figures show that the number of patients waiting over nine months for treatment dropped from 4,884 in February 2012 down to 109 in December. During that period, the average waiting time for treatment dropped from 3.1 to 2.1 months.
Minister Reilly and the HSE had pledged that no patient would be waiting over nine months for treatment by the end of 2012, and the current target is to reduce the maximum treatment waiting time to eight months this year.
The figures would indicate that Dr Reilly’s waiting list initiative is in danger of coming off the rails following the recent increase in waiting numbers and waiting times.
However, a Department of Health spokesperson said ‘significant bounceback’ in waiting times in the early months of this year was expected, as winter pressures in emergency departments had impacted on scheduled care waiting times.
“In the coming months, as winter pressures ease, the SDU will work towards re-balancing scheduled care both to maintain the improvements seen in 2012 and to achieve the new 2013 target that no adult should be waiting longer than eight months for treatment.”
The Department said the figure of 2,14 people waiting over nine months for treatment was the total number of adults and children waiting and patients waiting for routine endoscopes, each of which had different targets.
The figures show that around 97% of the 2,141 figure comprises adults waiting over nine months for treatment, with the remainder made up of children awaiting treatment and patients awaiting endoscopies.
The Mater currently has 5,011 patients on waiting lists for hospital treatment, of which 521 have been waiting longer than nine months for treatment, or 10% of total patients on waiting lists at the hospital.
The hospital with the next worst record for long waiters is Cork University Hospital, where 236 (just under 9%) of its 2,708 patients on waiting lists have been waiting over nine months for treatment.
The hospital with the largest number of patients on waiting lists is St James’s in Dublin, with 5,529. However, only 3.5% of these patients have been waiting over nine months for treatment.
Nearly 40% of patients on outpatient lists in one of the country’s main orthopaedic hospitals have been waiting over four years to be seen, new figures show.
Figures for the end of January from the Department of Health’s Patient Treatment Register (PTR) show that there are currently 10,347 public patients on outpatient waiting lists at at the Mid-Western Regional Orthopaedic Hospital in Croom, Limerick.
Of these, 4,109 have been waiting four years or more to see a consultant in an outpatient clinic in order to get assessed for treatment.
Croom Hospital has the highest figure in the country for the number waiting four years or more for an outpatient consultation.
The hospital with the second highest four-year plus waiting numbers for outpatients is the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, also in Limerick, which has 1,716 patients waiting over four years to see a consultant.
This is followed by Waterford Regional Hospital, which 1,086 patients with a four year plus outpatient waiting time.
Nationally, there are now 9,784 patients waiting over four years for an outpatient consultation in a public hospital.
A total of 8,989 patients nationally are currently waiting between three and four years for an outpatient consultation.
The total number of people on outpatient lists, according to the PTR figures for the end of January, is 386,643.
I WOULDN’T SAY there’s been a single week since I’ve started working about a year and a half ago in the hospital that I’ve only had to work 48 hours a week – as the 2004 EU Working Time Directive instructs.
It can be anything up to over 100 hours a week. There was a couple of hours where I was working over Christmas where I was on call three times a week and you’d have to work the next day post-call as well.
Generally you wouldn’t get any sleep, or you might get one or two hours. You could end up working anything up to 36 hours in a row.
Thirty-six hours would be a record. But once a week you’d generally have to work 32 hours in a row.
It’s a killer. Adrenaline tends to get you through the first 20 hours. You start to feel the burn at around 4am. You focus then on the ward for a few hours, you make your way through it, you’re generally okay that night, but then the next day is really exhausting.
Is this government committed to media diversity?
As always around this time of year, the nation suffers an acute shortage of hospital beds.
Minister Reilly, who loves pulling, stokes, and hates being accused of dodgy deals, has for once come up with a jaw dropping solution, which will insure hospital beds are readily available.
A program of replacing hospital beds with hammocks will begin early next year and will more than double their capacity for patients despite the crippling effects this will have on overstretched staff.
Reilly was disappointed that the HSE were themselves unable to come up with this simple initiative. He did thank the consultancy firm known as the friends of Reilly for their work in this area.
The first thousand hammocks are to be installed in January.
Reilly does not expect fallout from the scheme.
New figures showing that more than 75,000 hospital appointments have been cancelled over the past three years reveal the pressure on the health service from cutbacks and growing patient numbers.
The Health Service Executive says the cancellations are mainly due to closure of wards for cost-containment measures and a lack of capacity caused by emergency admissions.
At least 25,317 day-case and 50,433 inpatient appointments were cancelled in 2010, 2011 and the first 10 months of this year, the figures supplied by the HSE show. The total is, in fact, higher, since about 13 of the 40 hospitals do not supply figures regularly to the HSE.
Sinn Féin health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the figures reflected a system struggling with the demand-led emergency workload after staff budget cutbacks. “They simply fly in the face of Minister for Health James Reilly’s so-called reform agenda,” he said.
The Irish Patients’ Association expressed concern that the health of some could deteriorate before new appointments were fixed.
“The cancellation of appointments, especially at short notice, can cause huge disruption for patients,” spokesman Stephen McMahon said.
“In some cases, people will have had to make arrangements for the care of a family member and travel long distances to fulfil the appointment.”
He said that, separate from any cancellations, over 350,000 patients were on waiting lists for a first hospital appointment. The data for this year shows 6,311 day-case and 12,772 inpatient appointments were cancelled to the end of October. The figures also reveal huge variations in cancellations in different hospitals.
St James’s Hospital in Dublin accounts for almost one-third of the total, with 21,782 cancelled day-case and inpatient cancellations over the three-year period. The vast majority were for inpatients .
Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, which treats sick children, accounted for 18,780 cancellations. In contrast, only 140 cancellations are recorded for Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, Co Galway.
Dr Reilly is due to unveil his plans shortly for a radical reorganisation of the health service through the grouping of hospitals in different regions.
However, critics claim the process will see smaller hospitals downgraded by grouping them with larger hospitals.
Publication of Dr Reilly’s proposals has been delayed until after Christmas.
Nearly 12,000 patients have had their admission to hospital for treatments such as surgery cancelled between March and September this year.
Although there is a range of reasons for this, the most common problem is that the bed the patient due admission was going to be placed in had to be given to a patient who came through the hospital emergency department.
A lack of intensive care beds can also lead to cancellations because they are already occupied, leaving patients who will need to be admitted after surgery, waiting longer for their operation.
The cancellation can cause major upset and inconvenience as well as being very disruptive for someone who badly needs to have an operation or test.
An MS patient writes:
I am a patient of the pain clinic at University College Hospital Galway (above). After 12 years living with chronic pain caused by my Multiple Sclerosis a treatment was found to treat my chronic pain and enable me to live a near normal life; after years of trying various medications and blocks.
You can only begin to imagine the joy I felt that first morning after having a lidocaine infusion to wake ‘pain free’ it was akin to rebirth. I was in a position to be the mother and wife I had longed to be but was unable to become due to pain and the side effects caused by medication.
The clinic and I had a system where I would call once the pain began to return, as I am sure your aware each infusion is effective only for a certain time span; this can vary wildly depending on the stability of my ms.
I would receive an appointment for the day ward within a few weeks, this was managed in such a way that I never fell into the state of unbearable nerve pain I had had to endure in the past, in fact my pain consultant stated he would bring me in monthly for treatment if his budget would allow.
Since September I have been living with the pain once more, I am a victim of cuts at UCHG, cuts you sanctioned. I am now in a state of living death: sleeping taking Oxynorm then sleeping some more.
In fact I have now become dependent on the drug not just to treat the pain but because my body needs it! you must be experienced from your time as a GP how quickly a persons body becomes dependent on highly addictive medication, especially when used for more than two weeks; I am on week six right now. I have been informed that the earliest appointment I can have at the day ward is on November 21, a further six weeks.
I have now reached the stage where I believe this situation is an infringement of my human rights and most certainly a breech of the Patients Charter. I will be seeking a legal representative to force the HSE to meet the requirements of the patients charter and seek compensation for the physical and mental pain and suffering I am enduring and will continue to endure even after my appointment as I will need weaning off Oxynorm, all of which could have been avoided by a 30-minute visit to the day ward.
I await your response and plan for a solution to my intolerable situation
It averages out at more than €214,000 per consultant.
The sum does not include what consultants receive for treating patients admitted to hospital and does not cover the fees for outpatient clinics and private rooms. Factor these figures in and you will add several million to the bill.
The bulk of the consultants are also on public salaries averaging around €150,000. The majority of these consultants work in public hospitals. Their contracts allow them to treat private patients.
Therefore, we have a situation whereby private patients receive treatment in public hospitals using state equipment. Perhaps as a means of raising money, the health minister should consider leasing this equipment to the consultants.
ALMOST 6,000 patients have been on a waiting list for more than three years to see a consultant at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, new figures have revealed. Meanwhile, the Midwest Regional Hospital has the third highest rate of staff absenteeism in the country. Mary Fogarty, Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, said that the “work environment at the Regional is not conducive to people who are not at the tip top of their health. “Work pressures make it difficult for someone deciding if they are well enough to be in work or to return,” she told the Limerick Post.
Upwards of 5,600 have waited more than three years just to see a consultant for an outpatient appointment at Croom.
Hospitals in Munster were €40 million over budget half way through the year.
Staff sick time at the Regional Maternity was also running relatively high at 6.63%.
By contrast, staff absences at Croom Orthopaedic are just 2.05%, and at St John’s 2.31%.
There was no figure provided for what overspend the Midwest Regional hospital carried into 2012, but after the deadline for sending out bills in June, there was still €12.88 million owed.
Limerick Maternity has to collect €1.48 million in unpaid bills, St John’s has €2.38 million in outstanding fees and in Croom, €1.45 million remains unpaid.
Over 500 beds were closed there half way through this year, including four intensive care and six children’s beds. Croom’s overspend to July was €548,000 and their budget was cut last year by €740,000.
The Maternity Hospital had spent €2.25 million more than it should have by June, against a budget cutback in 2012 of €2.06 million .
St John’s had its budget cut by €1.78 million this year, and it had overspent by €1.52 million up to June.
The Croom waiting figures are the higher of the hospitals in Limerick with the Midwest Regional in Dooradoyle having 74 people waiting more than a year for an outpatient appointment.
St John’s has 76 patients waiting more than a year for similar appointments.