THREE cancer operations scheduled for this Wednesday were cancelled and rearranged for next week as the HSE deals with what it described as “exceptional demand for inpatient beds” this week.
As it struggled to contain costs last year, the HSE pledged that cancer procedures would be protected from any cuts in elective surgery.
But one breast cancer patient who contacted the Limerick Leader described how she had been notified on Tuesday that an operation to remove a lump - scheduled for the following day - had been cancelled.
“Three [cancer] patients have been deferred until Wednesday, January 11 due to an exceptional demand on inpatient beds for the last 48 hours,” a HSE spokesperson explained.
“Acute hospitals in all parts of the country come under particular pressure at this time of year and this entails special attention to emergency admissions. Where procedures have to be deferred, this is always done in accordance with clinical priorities.”
“Cancer surgery will continue to be treated as a priority by the HSE and, as outlined above, due to the exceptional demand three patients have had to be deferred until next week,” the spokesperson added.
The cancer patients are among 18 who have had elective surgical procedures cancelled at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital this week. All would be rescheduled “as soon as possible”.
Because of the current “surge in patient admissions”, the HSE has advised the public to consult their GP where possible and avoid attending the emergency department “unless absolutely necessary”.
*A full version of this story was printed in the Limerick Leader weekend edition