Sinn Féin: Minister Harris must act on "scandalous waiting times" for gynaecology services

Concerns were raised at the Oireachtas Health Committee earlier this year

A Sinn Féin TD has expressed his dismay at the failure of Minister for Health Simon Harris to meet with consultants to try and resolve the ongoing outrageous waiting lists at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH).

Speaking today Teachta Ó Laoghaire said some women have been told they will be waiting "at least" 129 weeks for treatment.

"The fact that 4,349 women are now on the outpatient waiting list, up from 4,193 last November, demands drastic action from the minister and the government as a whole. These are the highest lists in Ireland. The situation can not just be shrugged off and pushed back. 

"Women are dealing with a host of debilitating health issues. They should not languish on a waiting list in pain."

"Unacceptable level of risk"

Speaking before the Oireachtas Health Committee in January Prof Louise Kenny, CUMH and Dr Peter Boylan, Chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, shared concerns about women being exposed to an "unacceptable level of risk" due to the lack of availability of ultrasound scans.

Dr Boylan said: "We wish to see all units have access to expert ultrasonography services for all pregnant women. At the moment there is a huge variation in availability of ultrasound for pregnant women around the country. 

"This has serious implications for the quality of care which can be given to women in pregnancy."

Reiterating his sentiments, Prof Kenny, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at CUMH, said: "We once again reiterate the need for equal access for all women to standardised ultrasound services."

Teachta Ó Laoghaire concluded by saying: "I have previously written to the minister asking him to deal with this crisis. It is utterly unacceptable that this meeting was delayed and I will be demanding an explanation this week, and calling on the minister not to keep kicking this issue to touch."