Tuesday 25 October 2016

Year-long hospital wait for women with fertility issues


Women are waiting up to a year to be seen at the Rotunda's out-patient gynaecology department.

The master of the hospital, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, said the numbers waiting on an out-patient appointment is "still a serious issue for us".

"We still have far too many people waiting to be seen in gynaecology out-patients," Dr Coulter-Smith told the Herald.

He said that waiting times have come down a little.

"But it's still far too long for people who have fertility issues, for people who have irregular bleeding and potentially the risk of gynaecological cancer." Dr Coulter-Smith said.


Women who are at highest risk are bumped up the list, for instance post-menopausal bleeding patients are seen urgently, he said.

"But very occasionally, you come across somebody who is deemed low risk. It looked like they were low risk, but in fact they had something more sinister going on," he said.

Dr Coulter-Smith pointed out that the timeframe is too long for those waiting for fertility investigations.

"By the time they recognise that there is a problem they probably have been waiting about a year, and women quite often these days put off childbearing until later on in life, so by the time they realise there is a problem, the clock is ticking," he said.

"We really do need a facility that is bigger and more efficient and able to cope with the levels of activity that are currently coming through the system.

"There is an increase in demand for gynaecology and therefore we need to be in a place to deliver that, because the general hospitals are no longer able to cope with benign gynaecology. They are too busy dealing with emergency department patients."

He warned this week that standing still is no longer an option for the Rotunda - it needs a facility that is bigger and more efficient and able to cope with the levels of activity that are currently coming through the system.

A decision is awaited from the Department of Health on which adult hospital it will be co-located with.

Back in May 2013, the department signalled the creation of new hospital groups, as part of the reform of the Irish acute hospital system.


The Rotunda is in the Dublin North East group with Beaumont, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Connolly Hospital, Cavan General Hospital, Louth County Hospital and Monaghan Hospital, with the RCSI as an academic partner.

Co-locating the Rotunda with Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown is seen by many people as the most likely outcome of the review by the Department of Health.

However, Dr Coulter-Smith said that even if the project got into the next capital development plan, it could take five to seven years for the hospital to move to the Connolly hospital campus.

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