DUE to the impact of Covid-19 it is expected that the wait time for gallstone surgery for public patients at University Hospital Limerick will extend to 12 to 14 months, it has emerged.
The information came to light as a result of a question submitted by Clare County councillor Cillian Murphy to the Regional Health Forum meeting which was held on Tuesday of last week.
Cllr Murphy submitted a question asking what is the current wait times for gallstone surgery on public
patients in UHL, what was the average wait time pre-Covid and what is the
expected impact Covid-19 will have on that wait time in the future.
In a written response, Colette Cowan, CEO of UL Hospital Group, pictured above, said that elective procedures across the hospital system were severely curtailed during the first wave of the pandemic.
“Theatre access across UL Hospitals Group is currently prioritised for emergency, trauma, time-critical and the most urgent elective procedures following a clinical decision in line with the principles of clinical prioritisation as set out in A Safe Return to Health Services: Restoring Health and Social Care Services in a Covid Environment,” said Ms Cowan.
The CEO said that “resumption of services in recent months has been incremental, based on Covid demands, resources available and keeping patients and staff safe in line with the national guidance”.
“Prior to Covid-19, our wait time for elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy surgery was approximately six to eight months from date added. Because of the impact of Covid-19, it is expected that the wait time will extend to 12 to 14 months,” she said.