Dáil debates

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Hospital Waiting Lists: Motion [Private Members]


7:25 pm

Photo of Pa DalyPa Daly (Kerry, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

Last Friday I met a woman from mid-Kerry in the front room of her house. There was a beautiful view looking out over Castlemaine Harbour. She has been battling and beating cancer for the past ten years. She has a young family, one of whom returned home from school as we spoke. Every three weeks, she receives treatment in University Hospital Kerry for three hours with six or seven others. She knows all the staff by their first names. She had the height of praise for everybody in the unit. The people of Kerry are very proud of all the nurses who work there. The woman is comforted by the backup services in the university hospital, including the physiotherapy and scanning facilities. It seemed strange to me until recently that the unit has been borrowing wards from other departments. The most vulnerable are affected. What awaits the woman with the amazing view are anxiety and concern because it seems that, rather than investing in space to treat those affected, the authorities will outsource treatment to a private hospital. I do not know the financial cost but there will be no ancillary services in that hospital. Nurses say there will be a risk to health and safety and that if people become unwell, they will have to be blue-lighted from one end of the town to the other. Is the Government waiting for a charity to pick up the pieces for the unit?

Recently, in the past couple of days, there has been more depressing news from University Hospital Kerry. Surgeons there sent a letter to GPs stating facilities are not available there anymore. Elective surgeries have been curtailed for four weeks running. Things are falling apart. We in the office are receiving call after call about people having to wait for an hour for an ambulance. The situation is not sustainable. Nurses who have given their heart and soul to the hospital are leaving, and surgeons have written to GPs stating 2,200 patients are waiting to be seen in the surgical outpatients department. They say protected surgical daybeds have been taken over for emergency purposes. The also say nursing and infrastructure shortages mean the service the people of Kerry deserve cannot be provided any longer. Non-urgent surgical referrals can no longer be accepted. I ask the Government to do something about that.


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