Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore
The number of people who simply did not turn up for Out Patient Appointments and Operations at the Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore in 2017 has been described as 'extraordinary' by an Offaly County Councillor who is also a member of the Dublin-Mid Leinster Regional Health Forum.
Figures obtained by the Offaly Express through a Freedom of Information Request to the HSE show that in 2017 alone, 8,138 people simply did not turn up for Out Patient Appointments at Tullamore Hospital. That works out at more than 150 missed appointments per week or more than 32 per working day in the hospital.
Recent HSE figures revealed that 15,325 people were waiting for outpatient procedures at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore.
In 2017, 404 people did not turn up for Day Case Operations, Investigations and Procedures at the hospital.
Commenting on the figures for missed Out Patient Appointments, Offaly County Councillor and Dublin-Mid Leinster Regional Health Forum member, Tommy McKeigue, stated, “I'm very disappointed to hear that this many people are getting appointments and don't keep them. I don't know how you penalise people, but if they are not going to show up, they should at least be giving three days notice so someone else who needs the appointment can be scheduled in. I know things could happen on the morning and they might not get there but that's an extraordinary figure. Once people are on a waiting list and get an appointment, just not turning up without contacting the hospital, that's scandalous.”
He said he was disturbed to hear that more than 400 people had missed operations.
“Maybe they have gone elsewhere and got the surgery done privately. It's very disturbing to hear that kind of figure. There should be a total review to find out why people haven't turned up. There should be checks to see why the surgeries, in particular, have been missed.”
He continued, “it's very disappointing to hear this news. I've been trying to make the case at the Health Forum Meetings to get the waiting lists down. It's very hard to get anything over the line in terms of progress. Even the amount of money that is going into the HSE now, over €16 billion, the waiting lists are getting bigger and bigger. It's not down to me but there needs to be a whole shake-up in the system or it's going to keep getting worse. Money is after being thrown at it and it's not solving it. It hasn't worked up to now and it's not going to work.”
When asked what he would do to shake up the system, Cllr McKeigue commented, “I don't think there is buy-in from everyone. From the consultants and administrators down, I don't think there is a buy-in to the whole system. The consultants are working for the private and public sides and I don't think you can do both. And the money in the health budget, unless that is targeted, it's not going to help our health service.”
He also hit out at the decision to block a Primary Care Centre for Birr and to remove the Midoc Service from both Birr and Edenderry.
“The Primary Care Centre in Birr was voted down by councillors and that was wrong. That should have got the go ahead. The Midoc was pulled in Birr and Edenderry so the only place people can come to now is Tullamore Hospital.”