Belfast bus proposal to bypass Limerick waiting list issue

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Christy Kelly is offering to help people on HSE waiting lists to get access to a wide range of treatments in a Belfast hospital

Christy Kelly is offering to help people on HSE waiting lists to get access to a wide range of treatments in a Belfast hospital

WEST Limerick activist and one-time Council candidate Christy Kelly is offering to help people on HSE waiting lists to get access to a wide range of treatments in a Belfast hospital.

He has taken the initiative in a bid to enable people to “bypass long HSE waiting lists”, he told the Limerick Leader this week. And he is particularly anxious to make contact with people in need of cataract treatment.

“It is something I have been working on for a while, gathering information on the process involved,” Mr Kelly said.

“I would like to highlight it and urge people to consider it as an option to get their treatment taken care of quickly.”

Mr Kelly believes people can get speedy access to treatment at the Kingsbridge Hospital Belfast under the Cross Border Healthcare Directive.

“This directive provides a great opportunity for people on HSE waiting lists to get a multitude of treatments fast-tracked,” Mr Kelly claimed.

“It is especially suited to those with cataracts, a procedure which only takes 20 minutes.”

Payment for any treatment must be made in advance, according to Mr Kelly, but is re-imbursed quickly by the HSE provided the guidelines are met and the hospital takes care of all the necessary paperwork.

He is, he said, prepared to contact the hospital for people if that is what they want, and to get the process moving.

“It is a very simple process without any red tape,” he pointed out.

“So simple it is hard to believe, considering how long some people are on waiting lists down here.

“The hospital informed me I could submit lists of people to them and they would contact patients directly to collect relevant details and explain the process involved,” Mr Kelly said.

But, he stressed, people can also contact the hospital directly on (048) 90688858.

Unfortunately, he added, not enough people here in the Republic are aware of what they can obtain at the Kingsbridge Hospital where surgical procedures are carried out seven days a week.

Mr Kelly has also been in contact with Cork TD Michael Collins and Kerry TD Danny Healy Rae who are behind an initiative to transport groups of patients to Belfast by bus. He himself is prepared to organise a bus and accommodation for people from Limerick to avail of cataract treatment in Belfast.

“I consider it an outright scandal that our government is watching people practically going blind while on long lists waiting for a simple procedure for cataracts to be done,” Mr Kelly said.

“It is an indictment of our government that over 8,600 people are on waiting lists for cataract procedures alone. As it is mainly elderly people who are affected, it is wrong they are being deprived of proper vision when a simple procedure will sort it out.”

People should not have to travel to Belfast or any other place outside of the country to get the procedure done, Mr Kelly said.

“It ought to be done locally, but the government is not moving on the issue,” he argued, which is why he is now taking the initiative. Christy Kelly can be contacted at 087-6315184.

A spokesperson for the HSE confirmed that “in general the Cross Border Directive (CBD) allows a public patient in Ireland to opt to avail of necessary treatment in another EU/EEA country subject to the terms and conditions of the Directive.

“The HSE does not have the remit to clarify or otherwise the treatment time frames of hospitals outside the state. The HSE advises any person wishing to avail of the Cross Border Directive to review the information on the scheme on the HSE website or to contact the HSE CBD National Contact Point on 056 7784546 or via email on crossborderdirective@hse.ie to ensure that they are aware of the criteria of the scheme and that they adhere to the requirements for making an application to the HSE Cross Border Directive.”

See www.hse.ie/crossborderdirective.