Surgery patient waiting three years, says Reilly


ONE PATIENT has been waiting for surgery for more than three years, according to Minister for Health James Reilly.

Dr Reilly said the patient, who has been waiting longest for an operation in the hospital system, was placed on the waiting list on August 5th, 2009. The patient was unsuitable for treatment in other hospitals and therefore could not be referred to the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

The patient declined one offer of surgery and was subsequently scheduled for surgery this month, the Minister told Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher in answer to a Dáil question.

Meanwhile, new figures show that more than 10 per cent of inpatient hospital beds are out of use because they are occupied by patients who are medically fit or the beds are closed.

Some 852 hospital beds are closed at present, while 680 beds are occupied by patients whose discharge has been delayed even though they are medically fit.

Most of those waiting to be discharged remain in hospital because they are awaiting approval for nursing home care under the Fair Deal scheme or are waiting for home help, a home care package or access to a rehabilitation facility, said a HSE report.

Some 300 patients were awaiting discharge for more than a month while 44 patients had waited six months or more for a transfer.

Most of the delayed discharges are in Dublin, where they are a contributory factor to delayed admissions for new patients and longer trolley waits.

According to the HSE, the number of inpatient beds closed has decreased by more than 23 per cent compared to the same period last year.