AN OFFICIAL DOCUMENT from the head of the Radiological Department at University Hospital Limerick reveals a waiting list of up to four years for routine outpatient MRI scans.
There is also a two year wait for ultrasound scans and a six month wait for CT scans at the Dooradoyle facility.
The document, seen by the Limerick Leader, was sent by the administrative head of the Department of Radiology, Padraig O’Brien to all consultants and medics at UHL.
It states that MRI outpatient appointments have been scheduled up to August 2015, with 1,900 further patients awaiting appointments, resulting in an approximate four year waiting period.
Ultrasound scans are booked until December 2014 with a further 1,450 outpatients awaiting appointments, resulting in an estimated waiting time of two years. This does not affect the Maternity Ward.
There are four ultrasonographers in training, yet it is expected that it will be a further 18 months before waiting lists will be reduced.
The document states that until recently patients were waiting less than 12 weeks for CT scans and due to an increase in inpatient volume and rapid turnaround demands for A&E, carotid artery and surgical ward scans that the number of outpatient scans were reduced. The current figure stands at 400 with an approximate waiting time of six months.
It also states that there are vacant radiology posts in Nenagh and St John’s and Mr O’Brien fears a growing waiting list unless these posts are filled.
Mr O’Brien describes in the letter that the MRI waiting list has been discussed with senior management and costings have been proposed for extended MRI scanning hours and over weekends and for the provision of a second MRI scanner.
Finally Mr O’Brien states that the above waiting times will pertain until such time as extra resources are provided.
The HSE was unable to comment at the time of going to press.