Moratorium lifted for GUH
Surgeons at Merlin Park Hospital have succeeded in getting the HSE recruitment moratorium on recruitment lifted in order to recruit badly needed nursing staff.
Four consultants at the hospital raised concerns with the HSE over the retirement of 30 per cent of nurses from the hospital’s orthopaedic unit, subsequently meeting with Minister for Health James Reilly to outline the challenges facing the hospital.
The 25-bed orthopaedic unit has seen its nursing staff levels drop by almost 50 per cent in recent times, while the theatre is also massively understaffed.
Waiting lists for orthopaedic surgery at the hospital are also continuing to grow and the surgeons warned that the HSE could expect an increase of 300 per cent in waiting times if some of the retirement posts were not filled.
The HSE confirmed to the Galway Independent this week that it is now in the process of recruiting a number of staff across the Galway and Roscommon Hospital Group to “ensure continuity of services and to maintain safety and quality standards following retirements at the end of February”.
“The Galway and Roscommon University Hospitals Group’s service priorities are to improve patients’ access to the Emergency Departments and to meet the inpatient waiting list targets by using the resources of all hospitals in the group.
“In January, we started a project aimed at reducing waiting lists in line with the Minister of Health, Dr James Reilly’s target that ‘no patient will wait over nine months for a procedure’.”
The spokesperson continued to say that since January, HSE West have contacted over 3,200 patients on local waiting lists to check they are available for planned procedures and as a result, lowered the number of patients waiting for over a year by more than 50 per cent.
“By the end of May, we are aiming to have no patient wait longer than 12 months and by end of September, we are aiming to have no patient wait longer than nine months.”
The most recent figures, released at a HSE West Regional Forum in February, show that over 45,000 patients are currently waiting on treatment at University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park.
Of these, 39,182 are awaiting outpatient treatment, with orthopaedic patients making up 7,205 of the total. A further 5,525 are ear, nose and throat patients, 3,867 are urology patients, 3,103 are plastics patients, 2,818 are surgery patients and 2,616 are dermatology patients.
There are also 564 cardiology patients on the waiting list, alongside 346 waiting for paediatrics appointments.
The situation for those waiting on inpatient services is equally challenging, with 1,432 waiting on surgery, 997 on ophthalmology, 945 on plastics, and 838 on urology treatment.