A COUNTY Limerick mother has hit out at waiting times to see an ear nose and throat specialist as her daughter struggles to keep up with study through repeated illness.
And figures from the HSE have revealed that a number of patients on the list have been waiting up to two years for an appointment.
The mother of the 17-year-old exam student from Askeaton – who asked not to be named in print – told the Limerick Post her daughter has been on the waiting list for more than a year and in that time, she has had to take time off school every six weeks.
“When she gets an infection, she can’t swallow, she can’t talk, she is so sick. She’s missing out on a huge amount of school and this is an important exam year for her.
“Our GP referred us to the consultant but she hasn’t even got an appointment for him to tell us what we know too well, that she needs her tonsils out. That’s a year without even seeing someone and God knows how long after that before she has the operation”.
The mother said that she has been told that the consultant at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) “is only in his public clinic two days a week and he can only see six patients a day.
“We looked at going private but even if I had €2,500 in my back pocket, it will be eight weeks before we could even get a private appointment. And in the meantime, she’s sick all the time and her exams are coming up”.
A HSE spokeswoman said there are currently 3,748 patients on the ENT (Otolaryngology) outpatient waiting list at UHL, 1,218 of these are waiting up to three months. The longest waiting time is 24 months and there are 26 people waiting between 21 and 24 months.
“All patients are prioritised according to clinical need with urgent cases being the highest priority. Beyond this, UL Hospitals Group will continue to focus on seeing and treating those who have been waiting the longest.
“There has been an increase in the number of outpatients waiting for an appointment at UL Hospitals Group between March 2017 and March 2018. Among the reasons for this is the significant growth in demand; an increase in the number of urgent referrals and a shortage of consultants in some specialities.
“Particular focus is being placed on the validation of outpatient waiting lists and we are contacting all patients waiting over six months to see if they wish to remain on the waiting list”.
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