A child with special needs who is waiting on an operation at University Hospital Galway has had it cancelled on a number of occasions.
Fianna Fail councillor Mary Hoade raised the issue at a meeting of the Regional Health Forum West this week. She said it was “not fair” to keep cancelling the surgery, especially at the last minute. Her family learned of the cancellation on some occasions the night before.
She outlined that as winter approaches there will be greater pressure on hospital services which could result in more cancellations.
The county councillor asked the health authorities to confirm the number of elective surgeries which were cancelled on a daily basis for the last three months.
“Are there any plans in place to deal with cancellations of elective surgery? I have a particular case of a child who has had her elective surgery cancelled on a number of occasions.”
In a written reply, Saolta University Health Care Group stated there were 843 pre-admission cancellations by the hospital during June, July and August. These involved daycases and inpatients. Meanwhile 871 cancellations were at the request of patients/guardians.
Saolta outlined that patients scheduled for elective surgery are only deferred/cancelled when the “appropriate resources are not available to effectively and safely treat patients or at their request”.
Maurice Power, the chief executive of Saolta, told the forum meeting at Merlin Park Hospital that nearly 50 per cent of the total 1,714 cancellations were by patients themselves. The hospital was cancelling procedures too, he said, but it did not want to do this at all.
He said he appreciated some of the cases were “very, very acute” and he could understand the frustration of patients.
Cllr Hoade feared that some of the non-acute cases would become acute eventually if the cancellations continue.