February 12, 2024
48% spike in hospital cancellations in just 9 months – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has expressed concern at a spike in hospital appointment cancellations in the first 9 months of 2023.

There were nearly 200,000 cancellations in the first 3 quarters of 2023 compared to 132,000 in the same period in 2022; meaning an additional 64,000 cancellations. 

Teachta Cullinane said that the Government’s lack of a plan for overcrowding was impacting directly on waiting lists through cancellations. He said that the Government was shifting the problem from emergency departments to waiting lists, leaving patients waiting longer for access to care.

The TD for Waterford said that Sinn Féin has a plan to reduce cancellations by tackling overcrowding. He said the party would achieve this by investing in the necessary hospital bed capacity, in home care and step-down beds, in protected capacity for scheduled care, by fast-tracking elective centres, and investing in diagnostic capacity.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The Government is failing to tackle hospital overcrowding which is leading to record levels of cancellations. There were nearly 200,000 hospital appointments cancelled in the first 9 months of 2023. That is a 48% increase on the first 9 months of 2022. It is an extremely concerning spike.

“The Government does not have a plan for hospital overcrowding, and this is forcing hospitals to rely on cancellations. This is shifting the problem from overcrowded emergency departments onto lengthy waiting lists. It is not a sustainable solution. 

“Sinn Féin would invest in the necessary bed capacity so that patients can be admitted quickly and our healthcare professionals are working in safe environments. We need at least 2,400 hospital beds over the next 5 years.

“Sinn Féin would fast-track elective centres so that we can separate unscheduled, emergency care from scheduled surgeries and procedures. This will increase surgical theatre capacity, help to reduce the number of cancellations, and free up capacity in hospitals for emergency care.

“We would also invest in home support, community step-down beds, and diagnostic capacity so that patients can be discharged home or to a supported care setting when they are ready, and to ensure that patients’ experiences are not delayed by lengthy waiting lists for scans.

“We will never solve waiting lists without solving hospital overcrowding and reducing cancellations. This Government has no plan to do that, and the longer it remains in office the worse the problems get. It’s time for change.”

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