Local Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has called for the proposed hospital bed capacity review to be expedited after figures obtained by his party reveal the number of elective procedures performed in hospitals across the country has halved in the four years since 2012.
The figures released by the HSE show that there were 187,000 elective discharges in 2012. However last year in 2016, there were only 86,141 elective discharges.
Waiting lists for inpatients and day cases has spiralled to over 83,000 this year.
“These new figures clearly indicate a haemorrhaging in the output and delivery of elective procedures for patients in our hospitals. The fall in the number of elective surgeries undoubtedly stems from the pressures on Emergency Departments. In the Saolta University Health Care Group which includes Galway University Hospitals, Letterkenny General Hospital, Mayo General Hospital, Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe, Roscommon Hospital and Sligo Regional Hospital there has been an overall drop of 30% in elective discharges from 22,308 in 2012 to 15,396 in 2016,” said Deputy Murphy.
“A further breakdown of the figures reveals that there was a staggering drop of 86% in elective procedures carried out at Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe since 2012. A total of 3,861 elective procedures were carried out at the Ballinasloe hospital in 2012 but that number dropped to 527 in 2016 which is a colossal drop of 86%.
“Figures for Galway University Hospitals which include University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park show that there were a total of 9,651 elective discharges in 2012 and that figure dropped by 15% to 8,116 in 2016.
Eugene Murphy went on to say “In December the Director General of the HSE spoke of the 5% to 6% increase in the presentations to our Emergency Departments year-on-year and said that if these trends continue, all work will be emergency work and hospitals will be unable to accommodate elective work. Well these figures which show such a startling fall in elective procedures certainly prove that claim.”
“What is required now is that the Minister speed up the proposed hospital bed capacity review. We also need to examine the potential for hospitals without 24/7 Emergency Departments to increase their elective work and I want to acknowledge that the number of elective discharges at Roscommon Hospital has increased from 516 in 2012 to 754 in 2016 which is an increase of 46% and we need to see that number continuing in an upward direction.
“Also while €15 million has been provided in 2017 to the National Treatment Purchase Fund the sooner we can get this up to the €100 million or so that was provided to in 2010, the better,” concluded Deputy Murphy.