Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway, Eugene Murphy, has highlighted the fact that more than 200 people are currently on a waiting list for a nerve conduction clinic in Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe.
Deputy Murphy obtained the figures through a recent parliamentary question to the Minister for Health when he queried the number of patients waiting for neurophysiology appointments at Portiuncula Hospital.
“There are currently a total of 238 people on a waiting list for this nerve conduction clinic in Portiuncula Hospital and many of these people are in chronic debilitating pain for a considerable length of time. Over a quarter have been waiting for six to nine months; some 16 per cent have been waiting between nine months and one year; while 20 patients or eight per cent have been waiting between one year and 15 months which is simply not acceptable.”
At a nerve conduction clinic, a neurophysiology technician uses mild electric shocks to diagnose disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome. Initially, the nerve is stimulated with a mild electrical current generated by a small electrode placed on the skin. The impulse travels in the nerve through the tunnel to the hand where it is measured.
“I understand that this clinic is only operated on a monthly basis in Portiuncula Hospital by a visiting consultant clinical neurophysiologist and there is a significant waiting list to access this specialist service,” said Deputy Murphy. “The HSE has also indicated that they are carrying out a validation of this waiting list.
“It is simply not good enough to have over 200 people being left in pain and waiting for a neurophysiology appointment and it is once again unfortunately systematic of our failing health service. I am calling on the Minister to examine the possibility of providing this clinic on a fortnightly basis in a bid to clear this back log of patients.”