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.
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