University Hospital Kerry says weekend work will clear endoscope backlog by June

Hospital responds after accusations by Fine Gael TD of ‘significant delays’ for patients

University Hospital Kerry has said a programme of weekend endoscopes will clear a backlog of 100 priority cases by June.

It follows criticism this week that the patients in question were not sent for scopes at the nearby Bon Secours private hospital, an option made available to help alleviate pressure on the public system.

The issue was raised in the Dáil by Kerry Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin, who accused University Hospital Kerry of "significant delays" in getting the patients outsourced care funded by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).

“My information suggests that University Hospital Kerry (UHK) has not been co-operating with the NTPF recently, resulting in significant delays for patients who are . . . waiting for scopes,” he said.


However, on Friday, the hospital clarified its position on the issue, saying consultants at the hospital had been working through the backlist over weekends, with all 100 procedures due to be completed by June.

Although not outsourced to a private hospital, this “insourcing” approach is also funded by the NTPF.

“The consultant team in UHK clinically validated/triaged the routine waiting list, to ensure all patient referrals were reviewed, and this clinical validation process also ensured that patients deemed at a higher risk were scheduled and processed first,” it said in a statement.

Following those assessments, which began last month, weekend scoping procedures were scheduled and remain ongoing.

“On April 13th, 2020, [UHK] were advised of the potential of additional support by NTPF via a private service provider, but as the UHK plan is already in place and progressing since early March, there is no requirement for same at this time,” it said.

It also noted that any patient requiring an endoscopy identified as urgent is seen within 28 days.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times