Local TD Denis Naughten has praised the Saolta Hospital Group for measures it has taken to address cardiology outpatient waiting times in Galway University Hospital.
“Measures implemented under the HSE’s Waiting List Action Plan have seen additional temporary staff and overtime allocated for scheduled care so that valuable public hospital resources can be used at weekends to treat more elective patients. This has now resulted in those awaiting cardiology outpatient appointments receiving Saturday appointments,” explained Denis Naughten.
“This initiative is extremely welcome and is great news for the 2,632 people on the waiting list for cardiology appointments in Galway University Hospital.
“This is an initiative that could easily be expanded to other services in other hospitals to continue to address lengthy waiting lists.”
He highlighted how such measures could also address waiting lists within the primary care service: “I have previously requested that such out of hours services be extended to community services also, including children’s primary care therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy where there are long waiting lists. I believe we could attract applicants for vacant roles within the HSE by offering part time contracts which may suit therapists who have currently taken career breaks, in many instances for family reasons. It may suit such therapists to take up employment for a set number of hours per week including evenings and weekends and, indeed, I have spoken to a number of therapists who would actively consider such roles as it would allow them to take up employment when another family member is at home to care for children or elderly relatives and would allow them to maintain their skills.
“Offering evening and at weekend appointments would also assist families where parents are working, with the benefits of less work hours lost and less school hours lost for children. Given that many of these services are located in primary care buildings, where GP out of hours services are located, these buildings would already be open at these times,” added Denis Naughten.