UHG lab down to one technician amid fears over impact on waiting lists
By Mary O’connor
The chairperson of the HSE West’s regional health forum is concerned that difficulties arising from reduced staffing levels at a laboratory at the west’s biggest hospital may result in longer out-patient waiting lists.
City Mayor Cllr Padraic Conneely says two of the three technicians working at University Hospital Galway’s vascular laboratory are on sick leave.
“There is only one left so this is causing a problem,” says the Fine Gael city councillor. “The hospital is sending urgent patients to the Galway Clinic or Limerick Regional Hospital and will be consulting with other hospitals with the capacity to deal with urgent cases.”
He states that the local health authority is also consulting a recruitment agency with a view to hiring technicians to temporarily fill in for the absent employees. But this may take time, he adds.
“The urgent cases are being dealt with but my concern is that there is a long out-patient waiting list there already,” says Mayor Conneely.
“I would urge the HSE to proceed quickly, to do whatever has to be done to get the relevent suitable technicians hired. My interest is in the care of the patient. My worry is that the outpatient waiting list will get longer. We can’t have people waiting. Emergencies have to be dealt with and the waiting list must not be allowed to lengthen further.”
In a statement to this newspaper a spokesperson for the HSE West said it is “currently experiencing some difficulties” with the delivery of its vascular service.
“We are making every effort to put appropriate alternative arrangements in place. We expect to have these arrangements in place over the coming days. We regret any inconvenience to our patients.”
The vascular laboratory at UHG provides non invasive testing to locate areas of vascular blockage (in the circulation system) and disease, according to the local health authority. These tests may include blood pressure assessment of the extremities or ultrasound scans to directly visualise the blood vessels.