Deputy Connolly said despite all the assurances and promises given it now seems that 2000 people are waiting for orthopedic surgery at Merlin Park Hospital. This situation was confirmed in a second letter to TD’s on March 22nd from a consultant orthopedic surgeon on behalf of a group of ten orthopedic surgeons. The stark contents of these letters are unprecedented, said Deputy Connolly. In the most recent letter the orthopedic surgeon refers to a catastrophic waiting list of almost 2000 patients which he says has been accumulating since two theatres went out of operation on September 2017. The letter points out that the situation is becoming unbearable for patients who are on the waiting list and who are clinically disimproving as they wait to be admitted for surgery. Moreover the consultant has called on the Minister for Health to become involved in what is becoming a growing regional crisis.
Deputy Connolly said she has written to the Minister for Health, who is also in receipt of these letters, seeking an urgent meeting; Deputy Connolly has said that she will be again raising the matter during Leaders’ Questions on Thursday 28th March.
It is evident, said Deputy Connolly, that no value is being put on patient’s suffering; indeed, over the last 18 months in response to continuous pressure and questions from Deputy Connolly the most confusing array of inconsistent and contradictory responses have been given. As far back as 22nd February 2018 Saolta informed Deputy Connolly that contract documentation had issued to the successful bidder. On 21st March, 2018 a reply confirmed that the tender process for the modular theatres was now complete and a contract had been awarded. Then on 28th May, 2018 it was confirmed to Dep. Connolly that contract documents had been exchanged and that active engagement with the successful company was in progress and that Saolta was working towards having the modular theatres open in October. Since then the replies have become more difficult to follow or understand and 18 months later we still have no theatres and 2000 people suffering on a list that the consultant has described as a catastrophic waiting list, with serious regional implications.