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The roadmap for fully resuming the health service, including elective surgeries and screening services, is long overdue and now a matter of urgency, according to Róisín Shortall TD and co-leader of the Social Democrats.

She said, “For each of the last three weeks, the Minister has promised that the roadmap for the health service would be published by the HSE board, and there is still no sign of it.

“Non-Covid hospital care was suspended at the start of this crisis to create capacity for the expected surge. We are lucky that the public’s serious effort to flatten the curve has been successful and the extra capacity was not needed at the time, but it is now the end of June and patients are still having appointments cancelled.

“I have been contacted by patients who turned up for appointments only to find out they had inexplicably been cancelled with no notice at all. Others have had scans and surgeries in private hospitals delayed until after the private hospital deal ends for no apparent reason.

“I have great concerns that the response to Covid-19 has delayed diagnosis and treatment for many other conditions, which will have serious long-terms consequences for these patients.

“The public is paying a premium for use of the private hospitals, and that capacity should have been utilised to its full extent to minimise waiting lists. This opportunity is now lost, and it seems the deal with the private hospitals will end by the time we see the long-promised roadmap.

“This is not the way to treat our patients in the health service. Resuming non-Covid care cannot be delayed any longer. The public deserves transparency and reassurance about the way forward in our hospitals, and the Minister now needs to urgently publish the roadmap for the health service.”


23 June 2020

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