MAJOR concerns have been expressed about delays in accessing healthcare in Kerry and the situation appears to have escalated dramatically.
Kerry TD Pa Daly said healthcare need that is withheld or delayed is concerning but the most concerning would be sluggishness in services to diagnose or treat serious illnesses such as cancer.
He highlighted the plight of one person who is awaiting an urgent CT scan for over four months to determine the appropriate treatment for a cancer diagnosis and there are repeated complains of the lack of clerical resources in University Hospital Kerry to clear a backlog of patient referrals.
“This backlog is affecting adult and paediatric patients, many of whom are also cancer patients,” Deputy Daly said.
The answer to the lack of resources cannot be to have the HSE pay a private hospital to clear the backlog, he insisted.
“The investment must be in our local hospital to ensure that patients have the benefit of consistent care under their medical team and not outsourced in a haphazard fashion to the private sector,” the Sinn Fein TD stated.
“It is time now to stop outsourcing public funds to private resources and phase out the reliance on charities to raise funds for equipment in our public hospitals.
Issues he has highlighted with consultants include:
- 19-hour waiting periods to be seen in the accident and emergency department
- Difficulty contacting medical teams for family members who, in some cases, are disoriented or incapacitated and unable to speak for themselves
- Ambulances waiting up to eight hours to hand over patients to UHK. This caused a two-hour wait for an ambulance to turn around and attend to a Kerry patient who was eventually attended by a Bantry crew
- Waiting lists at University Hospital Kerry and Cork University Hospital.
“Our frontline staff have given their all since the start of this pandemic and have worked under extremely difficult conditions but the HSE must back them up and must address the lack of resources,” Deputy Daly stressed.