Chronic shortage of beds for cancer patients is inhumane – Conway-Walsh

The chronic shortage of beds in University College Hospital Galway means more and more cancer patients are unable to receive vital treatment on time, according to Councillor Rose Conway-Walsh, who has called for immediate action to open up wards to meet the demand for beds. The Sinn Féin councillor has said the other alternative is to bring back a full time consultant to Mayo General Hospital so that cancer patients who require an overnight stay can have their chemo administered in Mayo.

Cllr. Conway-Walsh said: “I am continually contacted by patients who have to wait inordinate lengths of time to receive treatment. The human suffering behind every one of these cases is intolerable. One such example is a young man of 30 who was diagnosed with a very rare type of cancer earlier this year. He is the only such case in the whole of the country. He started his chemo in March and continued to May, which has stopped the cancer spreading. He was due to start his next round of chemo 10 days ago. Every day he rings the hospital but there is no bed available. His GP and the oncology team agree he needs to receive the chemo in specific cycles and precise timing is really important and they are doing everything possible. Without a bed he cannot be given the chemo.”

She added: “I want to commend the staff working in conditions where patients and their families are constantly having to plead for beds. It is my experience that these staff do everything possible to treat patients in a dignified and compassionate manner. I am calling on the new Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, and An Taoiseach to immediately increase the number of beds so cancer patients can receive life saving treatment. This is not something that can wait. For at least five years I have been highlighting the lack of beds to support the Centre of Excellence. It is just not fit for purpose and cannot cope with the demand from all the counties it has to serve. It is time to bring back cancer services to Mayo.”

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