Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has described the lengthy outpatient waiting list to see a gastroenterologist in Tallaght Hospital as unacceptable.
The Sinn Féin TD spoke out after receiving a reply from the HSE to a Parliamentary Question that he tabled on the issue.
The reply detailed that 1,031 patients are on the waiting list, only 208 people currently have appointments, and the longest outpatient has been waiting for 14 months.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“The outrageously long delay of 14 months for someone waiting to see a Consultant in Gastroenterology in Tallaght Hospital is unacceptable and downright dangerous.
“Gastroenterologists treat a variety of health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, Crohn’s disease, haemorrhoids, and much more. It is obviously not acceptable that people living with these conditions and the symptoms they bring are waiting over a year to see a Consultant.
“I can only imagine the hardship and difficulties that these patients have to endure while waiting for a hospital appointment. Depending on the severity of the case an individual’s life is literally on hold while waiting on this appointment.
Deputy Crowe gave an example of a personal story outlining the devastating impact a patient has suffered due to debilitating illness.
“I personally know of one young woman whose life has been ruined by her illness.
“She has had to give up her studies and her social life.
“She can only travel when accompanied by someone because her confidence has disappeared.
“She is depressed, describes her life as withdrawn, and her down time consists of looking out her bedroom window.
“The HSE say they are beginning to address the backlog by employing a locum consultant, preparing a business case to develop an Advanced Nurse Practitioner role within the Hospital, and proposals to employ an additional gastroenterologist to work with other hospitals in the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.
“While I welcome these proposals I can’t understand why this waiting list of 1,031 patients was not been addressed before this situation became out of control and downright dangerous for those waiting for an appointment in Tallaght Hospital.”