Déardaoin, Bealtaine 20, 2010

Letterkenny Hospital colonoscopy waiting list times placing lives needlessly at risk


éirígí Tír Chonaill activist Micheál MacGiolla Easbuig has slammed the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Minister Mary Harney, claiming that they are putting patients lives needlessly at risk as a result of increasing waiting lists and delays for people requiring colonoscopies.

He was responding to the release of recent figures which revealed that there were 951 people waiting more than three months requiring colonoscopies. This is an increase of 130 since December. The figures for Letterkenny General Hospital now stands at 56, up from 43 in March and 25 in December. Sligo General Hospital has increased to 99 compared to 74 in March and 44 back in December).

MacGiolla Easbuig said: "It is completely unacceptable and outrageous that waiting lists for people waiting more than three months for a colonoscopy at Letterkenny and Sligo General Hospitals are on the increase. It seems that the HSE and their political masters in Leinster House are intent on putting the lives of patients at risk needlessly by not providing efficient and proven to be effective measures to detect and prevent deaths from various forms of cancer."

He added: “Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer in Ireland with more than 50% of patients diagnosed with the more advanced forms of the disease. Fewer than 5% of patients with stage 4 bowel cancer survive more than four years. A colonoscopy has been proven to be the most effective method to diagnose the disease and should be carried out within four to six weeks of a patient being referred by their GP.”

He concluded: "It is inexcusable that increasing numbers of people are been forced to wait more than three months for a procedure that if received in time could save their lives. Rather than spending billions of euros to bail out the banks the Fianna Fáil/Green party coalition should be providing a first class health service for the people of this county and the rest of the state, a service that provides screening and other early detection procedures such as colonoscopy services within weeks of referral and not months as is currently the case."

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