Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Hospital Waiting Lists: Motion [Private Members]
As somebody who lives in, and represents, a rural region and county and as the mother of a child who has endured the child's unfair share of waiting lists, the findings of the survey brought forward by our spokesperson on health, Deputy Cullinane, who put Trojan work into the collection of this information, confirm what I have experienced and what the people of Clare are dealing with daily. We had the curtailment, as it was called at the time, of the Shannondoc services, which resulted in their disappearance. Dentists are opting out of the medical card dental treatment services scheme, DTSS, and GPs are not taking new patients. People are left without access to primary care.
The people of Clare are definitely feeling disadvantaged when it comes to accessing healthcare. If they must present to University Hospital Limerick, for example, which has one of the busiest emergency departments in the country, they will more than likely spend a few nights on a trolley. Every week a constituent contacts my office asking for representation to the HSE because those constituents feel they have been completely forgotten. They do not understand how they could possibly be expected to wait and endure chronic pain and anxiety caused by having an untreated illness. I am working with a woman who has been trying to access rheumatology care for the last nine years and who is coping with severe daily pain. In the meantime, I have another constituent whose surgery, which was deemed urgent at the time of the consultation in 2019, has been cancelled three times, but only once because of Covid-19 restrictions. He was told he was at the top of the list nine months ago and he is still waiting.
In terms of children with additional needs, the average waiting time is 19 months. That is in spite of the legally imposed timeline of three months. Sadly, once a child accesses an assessment of needs the child is basically back to square one, left out to dry and made to source, resource and secure the intervention needed to support the child's development, as if the assessment of needs had not happened. This is truly ineffective and, to be frank, immoral. It must be addressed by the Government.
Major healthcare reform is absolutely necessary. Key Sláintecare personnel are dropping away and nobody seems to know why. It is not exactly a vote of confidence in this Government.