Eleven people are waiting for up to a year for physiotherapy services in Connemara, Inisbofin, and the Aran Islands. In all, there are 214 people awaiting these services in that region.
A total of 121 are waiting for up to 12 weeks, 59 are waiting for up to 26 weeks, while 23 are waiting up to 39 weeks, a meeting of the HSE’s Health Forum West was told this week.
Tony Canavan, the chief officer of Community Healthcare West, outlined that the physiotherapy post in Connemara became vacant in April.
Replying to a question raised by Cllr Dáithí O Cualáin, he said the position had been offered to and accepted by a physiotherapist who is ready to take up duty, once approval is given to proceed with their appointment to the role.
He stated that the islands’ physiotherapist post will become vacant at the end of this month. It has also been offered to and accepted by a physiotherapist. Financial constraints are behind the delay in filling these positions.
He explained that the waiting time for physiotherapy services is proritised on the basis of clinical need. “Those considered the most urgent clinically are being offered appointments in St Francis Primary Care Centre in Newcastle. All other patients remain on the waiting list. Clients who require a domiciliary visit are also being prioritised and those with the greatest clinical need are being seen.”
Mr Canavan accepted that the appointments at St Francis Primary Care Centre would not suit everybody, particularly those with long distances to travel. He said travelling to Galway city for services would “put extra time on people” and would “not be the best” for people with back problems. He added that once the health authority was in a position financially to appointment the new physiotherapists it would do so.