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Concern over hospital radiology service

Saturday, 4th November, 2017 8:00am
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Concern over hospital radiology service

Cllr John Carroll

Concern over hospital radiology service

Cllr John Carroll

The HSE has moved to allay concern over a reduction in consultant radiology services at Nenagh hospital, saying the transition will have a “positive” outcome.

Local councillor John Carroll (FF) recently expressed alarm that Nenagh's consultant radiologist service was reduced from two to only day per week. Accusing the HSE executive of “robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Cllr Carroll said the move would only add to the lengthy waiting lists for ultrasounds both in Nenagh and in Limerick.
But the HSE has stated that a staff member at Nenagh hospital is now trained in ultrasonography, which will “in effect provide a more focused service” in Nenagh.

Cllr Carroll, who is Vice-Chairman of the HSE West Health Forum, said he was informed by concerned constituents that the HSE executive decided to reduce the radiologist service levels to one day per week. This, he said, is “a cause of major concern to the many patients who are currently waiting excessive periods to see the consultant radiologist at Nenagh”.

Cllr Carroll said there was a four-month waiting time for patients seeking an appointment with the radiologist. “This was operating at two days per week, but the new and reduced operating time by the consultant at Nenagh hospital will add greatly to the waiting list and increase frustration and worry for patients already on waiting lists,” he said.

“Medical assessments and GP-referred patients, and patients from the Medical Day Ward, will end up travelling to University Hospital Limerick for appointments and this will result in increased bottlenecks at University Hospital Limerick, which currently has average waiting times of seven months for appointments to see the consultant radiologist,” the local councillor exclaimed.

“In-patients will now be held up at Nenagh hospital awaiting ultrasounds, and this will result in Nenagh patients being transferred to UHL to have their appointments carried out.”

Cllr Carroll stated that this “panic measure by the HSE executive to strengthen the already key shortage of technical staff at University Hospital Limerick will be at the expense of Nenagh hospital, who are performing well on service delivery to date. The recent policy of the HSE executive of robbing Peter to pay Paul will only add to increased bottlenecks at UHL, and now at Nenagh hospital, and will only lead to increased waiting lists at both hospitals, adding further to the stress and trauma being experienced by very sick patients on a regular basis.”

He said he would be highlighting the issue at the next meeting of the HSE Health Forum in Galway and requesting the health authority to reverse the decision.

In response, the HSE confirmed that the radiologist presence at Nenagh hospital has been reduced to one day and this did reduce ultrasound examinations for a temporary period. The authority stressed that the CT/general X-Ray service continues as normal.

“UL Hospitals commenced training staff in ultrasonography last year and can advise that a core member of Nenagh staff is now qualified to carry out ultrasounds, which will in effect provide a more focused service on the site,” a spokesperson stated. “This is positive for Nenagh hospital.
“UL Hospitals Group anticipates no significant increase in the number of Nenagh patients being referred to UHL as a result of this change.”

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