Delays exceeding 18 months for spinal surgery at Tallaght University Hospital have been described as “cruel and dangerous”.
The comments were made by Sinn Fein TD Sean Crowe in response to a reply he received to a Parliamentary Question submitted to Minister for Health Simon Harris.
Deputy Crowe said: “A reply to a Parliamentary Question I submitted has confirmed that a surge in Emergency admissions in Tallaght University Hospital has resulted in a reduction in all elective surgery activity over the winter months and this is now being blamed for delays exceeding 18 months for spinal surgery.
Deputy Crowe said he submitted the question after hearing personal stories from two separate constituents.
“One claimed she was waiting, in pain, over 28 months for vital surgery for scoliosis in Tallaght Hospital and another is waiting 30 months, also in chronic pain, and in need of spinal fusion,” he said.
“Unfortunately, these are just two sample cases from a mountain of patients waiting longer and longer for their life changing operations.
“It is cruel and dangerous, and many people are being left for years on extremely addictive drugs that can cause other negative and unforeseen reactions.”
Some of the cases have been moved to the Mater Hospital but there is still a huge backlog.
Deputy Crowe said that the hospital had a brownfield site that could deliver additional beds in 18 months if it was developed.
“Minister Harris and the HSE need to be more proactive on this issue,” he said.
“Many patients like the constituents I met are in real and chronic pain.
“In some cases they have been left waiting years on waiting lists that are effectively going nowhere.
“The Minister and the HSE are in a position of power to reduce the waiting lists and the trolley crisis into the future.
“They need to sign off on this construction project and deliver more hospital beds where they are needed.”
In response to Deputy Crowe’s question, Tallaght University Hospital said that they were continuing to work with the HSE to reduce waiting times for spinal surgery.