Current wait time for Gynaecologist appointments needs to be addressed immediately

Fianna Fáil T.D for Mayo Lisa Chambers has called on the Minister and the HSE to immediately address the ever increasing wait times for women needing to see a Gynaecologist

Speaking on the matter Deputy Chambers said “Figures from the National Treatment Purchase fund show that almost 30,000 women are waiting for an out-patient appointment to see a gynaecologist, an increase of 43% since 2014,”

“Over 5,000 of these women are waiting over a year. This is completely unacceptable, especially in cases where patients are waiting for a diagnosis or further procedures,” she said.

“An example of this is a patient suffering from the chronic disease Endometriosis. This disease can be debilitating in some cases and severely impacts on a person’s quality of life; not only their physical health but also their mental health. It typically requires numerous visits and surgery before a diagnosis is made. Patients suffering with Endometriosis are living in chronic pain daily and this is only progressed due to the lack of specialists in this area and in some cases waiting up to a year to see a consultant,” she said.

“This is only one of the many women’s health issues that specialist gynaecologist deal with, there are an array of other illnesses, including but not limited to; incontinence, problems with pregnancy, and potential cancer symptoms.” She stated.

“A breakdown of hospitals with the highest waiting lists for a gynaecology appointment shows 3,838 are waiting in the Rotunda Hospital, 3,130 at Tallaght Hospital with over 2,500 waiting at the Coombe Women and Children’s Hospital,” she said.

“Galway University Hospital has 1,882 waiting with nearly 300 patients waiting in Mayo. However, it is important to note that it is not just women from the Dublin area on waiting lists in the Dublin hospitals, women from all over the Country including Mayo are on waiting lists to see specialists at these hospitals,” she continued.

“Ireland has the third highest fertility rate in the EU but less than half of the EU average number of specialists in obstetrics and gynaecology” she stated.

“Irish Hospital Consultant Association (IHCA) have pointed out that almost one in five permanent consultant posts in the public health service are either unfilled or filled by temporary appointments. This is not an acceptable health system or standard of care for a first world Country; we should not have a situation where 20% of our consultant posts are vacant,” she stated.

“The waiting lists have been growing every year and they will continue to grow until the Minister and the HSE get real about the situation,” she said.

“I want to commend the Irish Hospital Consultant Association (IHCA) for their campaign ‘Care Can’t Wait’ and for sharing their experiences of hospital waiting lists to see a consultant in this Country and the drastic impact that has on patients, across all sectors,” she stated.

“We need to do better in this Country. I am calling on the Government to address the shortage in consultants across the board with a matter of urgency. People should be able to access timely and adequate care, anything less than that is unacceptable,” she concluded.