Thursday, 29 April 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
I thank the Ceann Comhairle very much for giving us the opportunity to discuss this very important issue. The National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh treats patients from all over our country for a broad range of orthopaedic conditions. The hospital has worked very hard over the years to improve access to treatment and to increase patient numbers. In Cavan-Monaghan and the neighbouring counties, there are many patients of all ages who are on long orthopaedic waiting lists. In many instances, people are in pain and immobile. These waiting lists are not acceptable.
I know from speaking to patients and people who have supported the hospital in Cappagh over the years, that it has the space to facilitate the provision of much-needed additional theatre and bed capacity. I understand that detailed and costed proposals are with the Department and the HSE. If implemented, these plans could be transformative for orthopaedic care nationally. In addition to new accommodation, some existing accommodation needs to be replaced. There are also additional requirements arising from Covid. The changing demographics in our country have also increased pressure on orthopaedic provision.
I have a particular interest in the hospital in Cappagh as I had an operation on my back there years ago. I am forever grateful for the treatment and care I received at that time. I know that many other patients of the hospital are very conscious of how excellent the care they get within it is. That is the message I have received constantly over the years from people who have attended the hospital in Cappagh.
It is heartbreaking to see children and teenagers immobile and in pain due to not getting appropriate treatment and surgical intervention.
In this day and age, that is not acceptable. I know of young people who are in dire need of orthopaedic surgery yet are on long waiting lists. In the meantime, their conditions continue to deteriorate. The State has an obligation to ensure that no child is denied unduly the treatment and surgery he or she needs.