Limerick doctor’s pledge to tackle surgical waiting lists 

Dr Catherine Motherway

A LIMERICK medical consultant has said that the issue of surgery waiting lists as a result of the Covid pandemic must be urgently addressed.

Dr Catherine Motherway, Head of the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital Limerick was delivering this year’s Sir Thomas Myles Lecture during one of Ireland’s largest surgical conferences, which took place in Limerick this month.

“We must acknowledge and address the overwhelming effect of deferred scheduled care. The issue of how we catch up, the ethical challenges we have faced and continue to face, and how we manage that given the finite resources and the absolute exhaustion after the last two years; is a challenge,” Dr Motherway said.

She added “We must now address the pre-existing and ongoing problem of providing scheduled care in the face of limited beds. This does need a co-ordinated plan with input from the bottom up and not just from the top down. We must find a way to sustainably resource our services and to attract and retain skilled staff who are in demand.”

Dr Motherway was one of the keynote speakers at the Sylvester O’Halloran Perioperative Symposium, along with HSE chief executive Paul Reid, and Professor Luke O’Neill, Chair, School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin.

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Mr Reid told the symposium: “Given the precedence which Covid-19 has taken over many important things, it is my intention in the year ahead to devote substantial efforts to the issue of unacceptable waiting times for scheduled care.

“This will not be an easy task if we do not bring Covid-19 under control again but we have a number of different levers to assist us next year, not least through the continuation of our strong partnerships with the voluntary and the private sector.”

The annual symposium is named for 18th century Limerick surgeon Sylvester O’Halloran. His choice of career was influenced by the great lack of surgical services in Limerick and in Ireland at that time. He and others founded the Limerick County Infirmary in the city in 1761.

The foundation stone is now preserved in the Sylvester O’Halloran Post Graduate Centre at University Hospital Limerick.