11 August 2010

Bowel cancer test waiting list shows Govt policy continues to fail patients – Fitzgerald

Fine Gael Seanad Health Spokesperson, Senator Frances Fitzgerald, today (Tuesday) said figures released by the Irish Cancer Society revealing that 1,073 people are waiting three months or more for bowel cancer tests show the spectre of waiting lists will not end under the current Government.

“In the wake of the tragic death of Susie Long, Minister Harney promised that patients would not wait more than one month for colonoscopy referrals. Since that promise, the HSE says that it has made progress in reducing the number of patients waiting for urgent referrals and this is welcome. However the figures released by the Irish Cancer Society today showing that 1,073 people are waiting three months or more for colonoscopy are extremely serious. It must be remembered that, whether routine or urgent, some of the patients awaiting these tests may be facing a cancer diagnosis so time is absolutely of the essence.
“Access continues to be a privilege rather than a right in the Government’s two tier health system and it’s clear that waiting lists will not be ended while the same bad policies continue to be pursued. Susie Long’s death proved a watershed moment in the widespread understanding of the inequitable two-tier health service. However, it regrettably did not prove a watershed moment for the bad policies of the Government and their impact on Irish patients.”