A PUBLIC health campaigner has claimed that Covid-19 restrictions have helped “cover up underlying problems” after it was confirmed that more than 42,000 appointments were cancelled across the University of Limerick Hospitals Group between March 2020 and the end of last year.
Figures obtained by Clare FM, through a freedom of information request, show there were 42,183 cancellations due to Covid in the UL Hospitals Group between March 2020 and December 2021.
Of those, more than two thirds related to University Hospital Limerick (UHL). Most of the cancellations were in the early stages of the pandemic, with more than 10,000 put off in March 2020 alone.
Cardiology appointments accounted for 12.5 per cent of the cancellations, or 5,237 appointments, while there were more than 5,000 Endocrinology appointments, and more than 4,000 ophthalmology and gynaecology appointments each, cancelled.
Marie McMahon, who’s a member of the Midwest Hospital Campaign, told Clare FM that she believes Covid has helped “cover up underlying problems” in the Midwest and she says it’s not acceptable.
The Irish Patients Association says action should have been taken sooner to reschedule appointments.
Spokesperson Stephen McMahon says the cancellation of appointments reflect bigger systems problems and that questions need to be answered as to why no-one is being held accountable for it.
The UL Hospitals Group says it’s committed to ensuring all patients whose appointments were deferred during the pandemic will be rescheduled as soon as possible and that time critical cases are being prioritised.