A Waterford GP says people are being harmed by the long waiting times for hospital appointments and procedures.
University Hospital Waterford has one of the longest outpatient lists in the country with almost a quarter waiting for 18 months or more.
There’s currently 36,027 people on the list at UHW, it’s second only to University Hospital Galway where 39,048 are on the outpatient list.
Patients in Waterford are waiting longer than anywhere else in the country, 8,538 people have been waiting at least 18 months to be seen.
Dr Tadhg O’Carroll is a GP in the Tycor area of Waterford City. He told WLR News that his worry is that some of these patients will come to additional harm while they’re waiting: “The patient who is becomming progressively more blind is at risk of falling, they’re usually elderly people, they may break their hip and that would take them out of their home and into a nursing home for the rest of their lives. All this waiting, waiting waiting, is harming the people.”
He says some of his patients have travelled to Belfast for treatment: “What I have been doing over the last six or seven months, for those patients who wish it, I have been encouraging them to avail of the European Union Cross Border Health Directive. What it means is that any EU citizen has the right to avail of a treatment in another EU country other their own and the state will cover the cost of that.
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Dr O’Carroll says children are also being affected by long waiting lists. “Waiting lists for things like Child Psychology now stretch into perhaps a couple of years. A little child, aged two or three, with autism or ADHD – by the time they get the treatment and the help they need it’s late, it’s late and it should not be. It’s harming children, and I use that word advisedly it’s harming our children.”