Sinn Féin TD for Longford Westmeath Sorca Clarke has urged the Health Minister to act now and end long gynaecology waiting lists.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Teachta Clarke challenged Minister Donnelly to end the scandal of these out of control waiting times.
Her comments follow a Parliamentary Question response she received from the HSE, which revealed 30,805 women are waiting for a gynaecology appointment- an increase on record highs this time last year.
Teachta Clarke told the Minister:
“Minister, last year I asked a Parliamentary Question of your Department regarding Gynaecology waiting lists. At that time, March 2021, your reply was that there was 30,180 women waiting on a Gynae outpatients appointment.
“In recent weeks having asked the same question again, the reply I received showed that the numbers of people waiting had not reduced but had in fact increased – to a staggering 30,805.
“Minister I am urging you to act urgently and end the scandal of these long gynae waiting lists, they are spiralling and as I have said before in this house, it is creating the perfect storm in Women’s Healthcare and these women, some of whom have been waiting an inordinate and unacceptable length of time must be seen as a matter of urgency.
“This is a crisis, impacted by Covid yes, but not caused by Covid. While Covid may have contributed to the waiting lists, it has exposed the chronic and unacceptable delays in women waiting on vital appointments that already existed.
“A Gynae appointment isn’t sought on a whim, it is because of need for medical care often for conditions that are debilitating such as abnormal bleeding, fibroids, Endometriosis, Ovarian cysts and Prolapse.
“Behind these numbers, there are 30,805 women stressed and anxious waiting for healthcare. Delayed appointments lead to delayed care, which can in turn lead to delayed diagnoses and delayed treatment. This is unacceptable. Women deserve better.
“Minister will you publish a plan for gynae care and ensure that services are sufficiently resourced to reduce these waiting times, as my colleague David Cullinane has outlined?
“It is not good enough to express surprise every year at these figures, while failing to address the problem. Women deserve better and government must deliver better.”