Waiting 11 years for doctor’s call


A PATIENT who was waiting 11 years for an appointment in Limerick’s regional hospital was cured by the time he got a letter saying he would be seen.
Liam Moloney, from Ballyfinnan in  Ardnacrusha, was referred for treatment for a skin condition in 2001 and was finally offered an appointment with Dr K Ahmad last year.
“I had to ring to tell them I didn’t need it any more – I was waiting so long, I decided to go privately and it has all cleared up now,” Mr Moloney told the Limerick Post.

Mr Moloney said, “I know that hospital waiting lists are long but that’s got to be some kind of a record”.
In answer to a query from the Limerick Post on why the wait was so long, the HSE said in a statement, “We apologise for any upset caused and are very happy to hear that Mr Moloney’s complaint has cleared up”. The statement explained that every acute hospital in the country is engaged in the mammoth task of validating its out-patient waiting lists as part of a national programme to improve services to the public.
“This means that waiting lists with many hundreds of thousands of names on them have to be checked to eliminate inaccuracies and to establish the facts as to how many people are waiting and in what areas. Historically, waiting lists have often contained inaccuracies for many different reasons such as people moving away, going to a different hospital or consultant or changing their minds about the need for treatment”.
“The only real way of checking the accuracy of a list is by contacting every single person named on it and this will inevitably turn up cases such as Mr Moloney’s. The alternative would be to presume that certain patients because of the age of their referral were no longer in need of treatment and this would be quite unacceptable”, the statement said.
When the waiting list is validated, the HSE will have “a real picture of actual need and this will help our doctors and nurses to plan their work more efficiently. We are also moving towards greater use of modern technology such as texting to contact patients and to reduce the large numbers of patients who fail to attend scheduled appointments”.